3530 53rd Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34210
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 06/29/19; 11:25 a.m.
Approximate number of animals observed at time of investigation: 40 puppies and four kittens
Puppies were in cages with treated wire floorings, one wire wall, and three solid walls, with one to four puppies per cage. There were about 16 puppy cages in the store. Each cage had one to two rubber mats in it, but some cages held too many puppies to fit onto the mats at once. Puppies were sleeping on the wire floorings due to a lack of space on the mats, A brown and white Shih Tzu puppy had green mucus on the underside of the puppy’s nostrils. About four kittens were in a large pen, filled with cat beds and items for kittens to climb on. A long-haired white kitten had dried, dark green mucus encrusting part of the animal’s nostrils.
I spoke to an employee (Caucasian female, about 30 years old, 120 lbs., with long brown hair and thick-rimmed glasses) about breeders the store uses. She told me the store works with the “top ten percent of breeders,” and that the videos of dogs and puppies playing in open yards on TVs in the store reveal the conditions breeding dogs are kept in. She claimed the store’s owner visits breeder at least once a year. When I asked her to explain what “top ten percent of breeders” means, she responded that the breeders are from the Midwest and that many are Amish, meaning the breeding dogs are “happy and healthy.” She told me the kennels are in the Midwest because there’s lots of land space for kennels, and that all of the dogs have space to run in the open while puppies are kept in pens. She claimed that both breeding dogs and puppies have time to play in play yards. She told me that she’s heard from another employee, Taylor, the owner, Steve, and Steve’s wife that most of the store’s breeders have a maximum of “sixish” dogs.
An employee who identified herself as Taylor (Caucasian female, about 30 years old, 100 lbs., with long black hair, tattoos on her arms, and a nose ring in her left nostril) told me that breeding dogs always have access to outdoor play areas. She showed me pictures on her phone of kennels she said she personally visited, showing dogs and puppies playing in grass, and said the store’s breeders all have “play yards.” Taylor claimed the breeders skip breeding cycles and are all USDA-licensed AKC inspected. I then asked if it’s a USDA regulation for breeding females to skip breeding cycles, and she answered, “Yes.”
Taylor said that USDA inspections are done with a “USDA officer” and USDA “attending veterinarian.” I asked if there’s a limit to how many times dogs are bred, and she said female dogs are only bred for four years. Taylor then claimed, “What they do is retire them, spay them, get them socialized, and then all of our breeders have what’s called an adopt-out program. So, all of their adults are either adopted out to shelters or rescues, or they work with, I think it’s, there’s a retire, there’s a veterinary program that works with retired vets. So, war vets and everything. And they’ll train them to be basically like PTSD dogs. So, they either do that, or on top of that, they’ll be trained and they’ll actually go into like Alzheimer homes with older people.” She then said the breeders think of the dogs as children and reiterated most of the dogs are retired at four years of age.
I asked Taylor about cat breeders for the store, and she said the Bengal kittens are bred by someone who keeps cats in their private house. She told me that the Maine Coons are from a Corgi breeder with two female cats, and the Ragamuffin cat came from a larger breeder with a “whole facility.” She described the larger breeder’s facility as being as large as all of the puppy play rooms in the store in the store put together. Taylor added that this cat breeder has “a socialization area,” and “so they have like jumping, pens, things like that.” This Petland store’s puppy play rooms are about five feet wide and long, and take up about 50’ by 20’ of space of the store total.
Taylor said that the store has a lady who does “claims and warranties” for the store, and the store only get cats from breeders the woman recommends. I asked Taylor for the name of the breeder, and she handed me breeder’s info hand-written on a sheet of paper: Bunny Tremble, 10233 Klondike Rd, Niangua, Missouri 65713, 43-A-3321. The employee appears to have misspelled the breeder’s last name of “Trembler.”
I then asked the employee with glasses for the name of a Havanese breeder, and she wrote down the breeder info as being Rocky Ridge Kennels, 57508 Ram Rd, Milan, MO 63556, (660) 216-3646.
Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store:
The employee’s claim about working with the “top ten percent of breeders” is unquantified by her statement that the breeders are in the Midwest and are Amish, as is her statement that dogs in Amish kennels are “happy and healthy.” CAPS has uncovered dozens of Amish puppy millers in the Midwest with USDA violations, as well many with sick and injured dogs. The “top ten percent” statement relates to no known existing list of breeders.
The employee’s statement that dog kennels are in the Midwest because it contains lots of land for dogs to roam is false. The vast majority of USDA-licensed Midwest kennels keep dogs in cages and pens, and not open yards with space to run, as evidenced by the hundreds of USDA-licensed puppy mills in the Midwest CAPS has investigated.
The employees’ statements that dogs have space to run is contradicted by their breeder Larry Albrecht (42-A-1212) who is noted on CVI from 7/17 selling to the store. I visited Albrecht’s Coldwater Kennel on 4/6/15 and 7/9/18 and saw dogs in cages and concrete pens, with no play yards visible on the property.
The employee’s claim that Bunny Trembler have a large amount of space that is a socialization area “so they have like jumping, pens, things like that,” is contradicted by evidence I obtained when I visited Trembler’s cat mill on 8/12/18. Trembler’s nursing mothers and kittens were in wire cages and had plastic tubs for beds. None of the cages contained soft surfaces or toys.
The following information was given to me by employees when I asked about the sources of puppies and kittens:
- Bunny Trembler, 10233 Klondike Rd, Niangua, Missouri 65713, 43-A-3321
- Rocky Ridge Kennels, 57508 Ram Rd, Milan, MO 63556, (660) 216-3646