1723 N Fry Rd
Katy, TX 77449
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 4/19/23, 1811
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 50
Puppies were kept in aquarium-like enclosures in one wall of the store, with about a dozen enclosures set over another dozen. Each had treated wire floorings, water bottles, dog toys, and a clear wall on one side for customers to see the puppies inside. Some had small blankets that partially covered the flooring. There were about one to three puppies of various breeds per enclosure.
Claims about puppy mills
I spoke to an employee (female about 18 years old, 5’4″, 90 lbs., with long black hair) about puppies at the store. As I did so, another young employee stood nearby and watched our conversation. I said that I wanted to make sure the puppies don’t come from puppy mills. She stated, “And we guarantee that.” The employee added, “We guarantee the breeders. We guarantee where the puppies come from. We guarantee how long they’ve been here. Their birthdays, their birth dates, their vaccinations ….” I then asked if she knew any specific information about breeders, and she told me that the store manager, Chris, visits breeders on yearly trips with long-term employees. She stated, “He traveled to Indianapolis, he traveled to Michigan, he traveled to the states that our breeders are from. Most of them are Amish. So, and they’re all USDA and licensed. I know that some puppy mills can still be USDA licensed but these guys, they have to have certain limitations in order for us to be okay with them.”
Lies about space for dogs and size of mills
I asked what the limitations are, and she answered, “So, they’ll have about, I really don’t know what they’re, basically, they don’t have multiple cages, multiple moms and dads. These dogs have land. They have a big, fat, they have multiple acres of land. If they have big dogs like Huskies, they have a big old yard.” She mentioned that she’s seen videos of people in Petland uniforms going into breeding facilities, some wearing gloves and coverings on their feet, making it clear her claims come from the Petland YouTube video.
I asked her how many dogs breeders have. She said, “When it comes to dogs, I think they have about. I really don’t know what the standard is when it comes to that. They’re not gonna’ be your big, fat facilities. They’re not really a business. If that makes any sense.” She added, “They are registered to do what they do. And they have the money to buy certain things and to give them places. But it’s only like twenty-five dogs. Five dads, maybe three moms.”
Lie about breeding dogs and claim that only customers get puppies’ sick
I then asked her how long dogs are bred for and what happens to dogs afterwards. She claimed breeders keep all their spent breeding dogs, and then ranted about how when Petland puppies get sick, it’s always the fault of the customer. I asked her, “Do you know how long they breed them for or what happens to them when they’re done?” She told me, “I was just gonna’ say that. They stay. They get retired, and they stay with everybody. They just don’t get bred. They have vets on site. They have their own personal vets. After they, they come in from, their vet checks them before they get to us and then our vet checks them as soon as they get here. These pups are guaranteed to be healthy. And if they do go home, it’s because of something bacterial. It’s not because they already had parvo or anything like that. People don’t understand puppies and how they cannot touch things.
She continued by saying, “They do not understand that. So, they blame Petland. They’re like, I have a parvo[virus] puppy from Petland. First of all, you let your puppy walk on the ground. Parvo’s from dirt. You can ask a vet. You can ask anybody that. I’m not a vet, obviously, but from what I’ve heard from multiple vets, parvo’s from dirt. They let their puppies go onto their front yard, where other people’s feet have been, other people’s dogs have been. Certain bacteria that they’re not supposed to be exposed to. And that’s when their puppy gets sick. And they blame us for it when we, obviously, it’s not that.”
I then asked for breeder information on a puppy, but she told me that she couldn’t find it without her manager. She showed me health record info for the puppy and said that the initials “NW” on the paperwork were for the breeder, but that she didn’t know who that breeder was.
Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations by store
The employees’ claim that dogs have acres of land to run on is false. Despite Petland’s video showing dogs and puppies running free in grassy yards, commercial breeders keep dogs in cages and pens, and most don’t use exercise pens at all for the dogs. For example, CAPS noted from a CVI that Samuel Beachy in Clark, MO (USDA license 43-A-4887) sold to Petland Katy in 2022. Satellite imagery of Beachy’s property shows cages and dog runs on either side of a building, with walls blocking view to or from the dog’s outdoor enclosures. No play area is evident, and certainly not one that is acres in size. Furthermore, a CVI shows that in 2022 the store bought from Mervin Yoder in Clark, MO (USDA license 43-A-6336). Yoder’s USDA inspection report from January of 2022 notes the inspector couldn’t find someone to be let in six times and found feces-covered floorings in dogs’ enclosures. This is a stark contrast to the video Petland shows of dogs running and playing in the open.
The employee’s claim that the store’s breeders only have “five dads, maybe three moms” is totally inaccurate. CAPS obtained records of breeders selling to the store in 2022. Many breeders had dozens or over a hundred breeding dogs, not to mention puppies. Petland Katy’s breeders Earl and David Miller in Oronogo, MO (USDA license 43-A-5221) are noted in a USA inspection from September, 2022 as having 174 dogs and 81 puppies. Furthermore, satellite imagery of the property shows dozens of dog runs, but no play area or “acres of land” evident for the dogs to run in and not end up getting loose or on the road.
The employee’s claim that breeders have vets “on site” is a lie. No breeder, unless they are a veterinarian by profession, has a vet on site. I have visited well over 700 USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities across the US, and never once have I seen a facility that employs their own veterinarian.
The employee’s claim that breeders keep their spent breeding dogs is untrue. If this was the case, breeders would have hundreds of dogs piling up on them with no place to put them. As CAPS has discovered from hundreds of conversations with USDA breeders across the US, breeding dogs are either sold, given away, or killed when no longer useful.
The employee’s claim that puppies do not get sick from Petland and that only customers get puppies sick is a falsehood. Puppies at Petland are generally eight weeks old, not fully vaccinated, their immune systems are stressed from travel, and they are mixed with puppies from other breeding kennels. Such conditions are rife with opportunities for disease transmission. They have immunity from their mothers.
The employee’s claim that parvo is from dirt is not entirely accurate. Parvovirus is an incredibly contagious disease that spreads quickly and efficiently. While canine parvovirus is not airborne, it can be found on many surfaces, not just dirt. During the time that the immunity from parvo and distemper from their mothers is decreasing and the series of shots have not yet been completed, puppies are most at risk for acquiring these diseases.
Parvo is spread by contact with contaminated feces, but you don’t have to see feces for the virus to be present. It can live on the ground, in kennels, on peoples’ hands, on objects, or on the clothing of those who have been contaminated. Dogs can also carry it on their fur or paws if they’ve come in contact with contaminated material. It is far more likely that dogs in close contact in a puppy mill that is not properly cleaned and sanitized will have parvo.
Parvovirus can survive in a dog’s environment for months, if not years, and is resistant to many disinfectants. However, it is susceptible to diluted bleach and some specialized cleaners commonly used in veterinary hospitals.
Breeder information obtained from 2021, 2022 and 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection
Chester Beachy, 10495 Monroe Road 1005, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6272 (63 adults, 83 puppies on USDA inspection October 2022).
On September 9, 2021 USDA inspection, Beachy received 3 teachable moments: New litter of puppies with feet passing through tenderfoot flooring, quarantine area that had concrete floor that was not impervious to moisture and a couple of water bowls tipped over so canines didn’t have access to water.
Samuel Beachy, 4957 Hwy Y, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-4887 (103 adults, 87 puppies on February 2021 USDA inspection).
Daniel Borntreger/Monroe County Puppies, 11722 Rt NN, Madison, MO 65263, 43-A-6543 (56 adults, 35 puppies on July 2021 USDA inspection).
On May 19, 2021 Missouri Department of Ag (MDA) inspection, Borntreger was cited for outdoor portion of sheltered enclosure with 9 puppies completely covered with fecal material and unused enclosures that contained fecal accumulation. On May 18, 2022, MDA inspection, received violation for piles of wood and metal along sides of enclosures.
On USDA inspection July 6, 2021, Borntreger was cited for a golden retriever with hair loss on top of head. The middle of the hair loss region was pink and red, appeared slightly swollen and cracked with a yellow substance in cracks. The licensee was instructed to consult a licensed vet within two days. Also received violation for abundance of flies and no pest control in place at time of inspection.
John Borntrager, 10836 Monroe 1050, Moberly, MO 65270, 43-A-6573 (47 adults, 31 puppies on USDA inspection February 2022).
Willard Borntrager/Stagecoach Run Kennel, 23647 Stagecoach Lane, Brashear, MO 63533, 43-A-6069 (45 adults, 21 puppies on February 2022 USDA inspection).
Angela Fields, 22102 Hwy FF, Green Castle, MO 63544, 43-A-5553 (95 adults, 33 puppies on USDA inspection April 2022).
Andrew Gingrich 5592 Hwy Y, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6582 (38 adults, 18 puppies on USDA inspection April 2022).
On November 28, 2022, Gingerich received MDA violations for expired veterinary care form, dogs yearly examinations were several months late and some dogs that exhibited excessive matting. On March 23, 2023, MDA issued violation for several dogs that were excessively matted. Some dog’s eyes could not be seen for the excessively long hair that was covering their eyes and puddles of water on kennel surface and several dogs with wet hair (licensee had just washed/cleaned kennel). On March 23, 2023, MDA issued an “Official Letter of Warning” for repeat veterinary care violations.
Norman Gingrich, 5388 Audrain 161, Sturgeon, MO 65284, 43-A-6353 (32 adults, 3 puppies on USDA inspection August 2022).
On June 1, 2022, received recordkeeping violation from MDA for a Poodle with no acquisition papers, not on inventory and not on disposition sheets (dog no longer at facility).
Norman Hershberger and Steve Kaffman, 1288 Grant, Hazelton, IA 50641, 42-A-1681 (23 adults, 18 puppies on USDA May 15, 2023, inspection).
On April 18, 2023, USDA inspection, received violations for dogs not being up to date on vaccines and another violation for numerous missing medical records.
Holly Iben, 21473 200th Ave., Monticello, IA 52310, 42-A-1564 (81 adults, 28 puppies on USDA February 3, 2022 inspection).
On February 4, 2022, received USDA violation for Terrier with loose teeth and instructed to have dog evaluated by vet. Also received violation for no puppy identification numbers for 2 different litters.
Cindy Mickey, 13277 W Farm Road 140, Bois D Arc, MO, 43-A-6407 (19 adults, 24 puppies, 3 cats, 6 kittens on July 2022 USDA inspection).
Darin and Patty Miller, 405 Elliot Drive, Carl Junction, MO 64834, 43-A-6528 (133 adults, 72 puppies on February 2022 USDA inspection).
Missouri inspection April 13, 2022, follow-up from May 2021 inspection that found adult enclosures were not equipped with a solid resting surface. Corrected on April 13, 2022.
Earl and David Miller, 10569 CR, Oronogo, MO 64855, 43-A-5221 (174 adults, 81 puppies on USDA inspection September 2022).
Jonas Miller, 4070 Audrain Road 165, Clark, MO 65242, 43-A-6042 (54 adults, 37 puppies on USDA inspection March 2022).
Perry Petersheim, 2366 CO Road 2755, Moberly, MO 65270, 43-A-6646 (34 adults, 5 puppies on USDA inspection February 2022).
Daniel Troyer, 726 Audrain Road 152, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6077 (76 adults, 53 puppies on May 2022 USDA inspection).
On Missouri inspection April 14, 2021, Troyer received violation for 2 Poodles he had obtained but didn’t have complete name and mailing address of whom he had obtained the dog or the dogs’ age. Several of the dog doors had a buildup of dirt and grime.
Elmer Troyer, 10038 Hwy Y, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-5917 (77 adults, 42 puppies on September 2022 USDA inspection).
Missouri inspection report dated May 5, 2022 shows Troyer received state violation on January 26, 2021, for three Akitas housed in outdoor facility without structured shelter. Report also indicates prior violation received on Missouri inspection February 15, 2022, doors and frames with buildup of dirt and grime. Facility is in need of a deep cleaning to meet general husbandry standards. Several plastic feeders with broken, sharp points were found. Female goldendoodle housed on concrete floor that had not been sealed.
USDA inspection of February 15, 2022, received violation for excessive, smeared feces covering 50-80% of the flooring in enclosures of the sheltered kennel building. Other violations included outdoor enclosure with 5 dogs with not enough space to sit, stand and lay down, chewed/sharp edges on feeders, empty water bowls, unsealed concrete flooring and lack of written documentation of exams and preventative care.
On USDA inspection May 18, 2022, Troyer received violation for excessive amount of flies inside and outside facility.
Mervin Yoder, 491 Audrain Road 153, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6336 (33 adults, 4 puppies on January 2022 USDA inspection).
USDA was unable to inspect the facility five times in six months (April 21, June 2, June 30, August 24, September 8, 2022).
On USDA inspection April 4, 2020, Yoder received violation for no heat in new building housing 20 medium sized dogs. The building inside temperature was 42 degrees with outdoor temperatures falling (sheltered part of building must be at least 50 degrees). There was no bedding in dogs’ enclosures and vet was unaware animals were being housed without heat.
On USDA inspection October 8, 2021, a Cocker Spaniel was observed with odor and discharge coming from both ears. Hair along the bottom of ears was matted and dirty from ear drainage. There was a scabbed area behind right shoulder about the size of a baseball. The scabbed area had a crack in the middle with yellow and red discharge. Licensee stated that he talked to vet and was instructed to use salve. Inspector called vet and vet stated he didn’t know anything about the dog. The licensee was ordered to have dog evaluated by vet with 2 days.
Additional violations on October 8, included expired and unlabeled medications. Outside enclosures with twelve dogs had excessive feces inside their enclosures. Flooring in whelping area not impervious to moisture with areas where moisture from feces had absorbed. Dogs going between enclosures due to holes dug under the divider. Licensee had a dachshund chained up inside an enclosure because it was fighting with other dogs in that enclosure. Program of veterinary care missing plans to maintain preventative care.
On USDA inspection January 26, 2022, Yoder received repeat violation for an enclosure with one adult dog and four puppies that was completely covered with feces. The slatted floor was completely covered in fecal material and the animals couldn’t sit or walk without getting on fecal matter. He was also cited for repeat violation of incomplete program of veterinary care.
Ethan and Garry Zumbach, 21473 200th Ave., Monticello, IA 52310, 42-A-1636 (139 adults, 30 puppies on USDA February 16, 2022, inspection).
On USDA February 16, 2022, inspection, received two violations for incomplete veterinary care information.
Broker information obtained from 2021 and 2022 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection
Curt and Lori Conrad/Conrad’s Cuddly Canines, 6104 Pike 9, Frankford, MO 63441, 43-B-3659 (0 adults, 53 puppies on USDA inspection September 2021).
Market Smart, 12619 Nettle Drive, Neosho, MO 64850, 43-B-3810 (0 adults, 42 puppies on USDA inspection October 2022).
Southpaw Pets, 19624 Owl Road, Neosho, MO 64850, 43-B-3812 (0 adults, 12 puppies on March 2022 USDA inspection).
Note regarding number of dogs at above breeding facilities
The number of adult breeding dogs and puppies at the above facilities is consistent with being commercial breeding establishments, also known as puppy mills, that mass produce dogs for resale to pet shops. Please refer to the following link (Summary of legal cases defining “puppy mill”) for a summary of legal cases defining the term “puppy mill.”
Luis Marquez, Petland franchise owner
Luis Marquez owns four Petland franchises in Texas: Webster, Woodlands, Tyler and Bellaire (selling puppies in violation of the Houston ordinance). In Florida, he owns seven Petland franchises and My Puppy Buddy. He took over the Petland franchise in Overland Park Kansas, and the Kansas Department of Agriculture ordered him to stop selling puppies because of serious violations. Truist Bank in Florida has filed a foreclosure and
commercial line of credit default lawsuit against Marquez’ companies.
Lack of USDA
The fact that few breeders and brokers have USDA violations does not mean that none exist. During our undercover investigation of USDA-licensed facilities, we document violations. USDA has made it very easy for licenses not to have violations. In response to regulatory ordinances, USDA was using teachable moments, self-inspections and a trial announced inspection program. Their guidelines also instructed inspectors not to cite ear, eye and dental diseases as veterinary care violations. Due to pressure from animal advocates, USDA has terminated these programs. Nonetheless, the citation of violations by inspectors continues to be extremely limited.