Petland Leon Valley
7030 Bandera Rd
San Antonio, TX 78238
(210) 239-0715

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 6/7/23, 1303

Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 50

Puppies were kept in enclosures set into two walls at a corner of the store. There were 22 enclosures in all, made with plastic walls and wire floorings, with one to three puppies in each. Puppies had small blankets to partially cover the wire, toys, food dishes, and water bottles. Twenty of the enclosures were two feet wide and long and three feet tall, while two were twice as wide. This is because the enclosures could all be four feet wide, but most had dividing walls put into them that halved the space in them.

“Nobody ever asks about this”

I was told puppies range in price from $1,000 to $5,900, and an employee (female, about 30 years old, 5’6”, 140 lbs., with long black hair, a piercing on her left cheek and a tattoo on her left forearm) spoke to me about the store’s breeders. She told me the store uses USDA-licensed breeders and grabbed a pamphlet of information about them, which was on a counter near the puppy enclosures. She wiped dust from the top pamphlet and said, “It’s a little dusty, because nobody ever asks us about this.”

Lie about breeders socializing dogs

She said the owners go on “breeding trips” to visit the breeders, who are in the Midwest. I asked why the breeders were there, and she told me she didn’t know that the store uses “a lot of Amish USDA” breeders. She showed me pictures of breeding facilities with dogs in long runs, and dogs running in grassy yards and in pens with crushed rock floorings. She said the dogs have access to play pens, but the pens have crushed rock in them because they can be sprayed down with water, which makes them more sanitary than grass. She also said the dog pens have heated flooring. I then asked, “Okay, so they’re not in like raised cages?” She answered, “No. No. Yeah.  It’s going to be like, normal. As normal as can be.” I asked if breeding dogs are socialized, and she said, “Yeah, they do. Yes. The breeders are very, what’s the word, very picky on that. They want to make sure that their dogs are getting socialized. Make sure that it’s not, like, puppy mill. Definitely that have, like I said, USDA.” She then immediately said the store has USDA reports on all breeders and showed me one for Michael Bontrager (35-A-0413).

Employee claimed dogs live in a “neighborhood”

I asked her if she knew how many dogs breeders have: “Do they have like a few or like a hundred?” She told me, “So, I know they have different sections. So, like a lot of the Amish, will have like a farm with their family. And like, let’s say uncle has, like Beagles. And auntie has Poodles. It’s kind of like that. They all just have their own little section.”  I asked, “Okay, so they could have a hundred dogs, but they might be divided?” She responded, “Right, in like, just in their little, like a neighborhood. Kind of.” I said, Oh, okay. It’s not like one big giant kennel?” She said, “No,” and reiterated her point about socialization by saying, “And then, like I showed you, they do bring them out and have socialization with the family.”

The employee admitted to me that she didn’t know how long dogs were bred for, but claimed, “And then when they’re done, they keep them as like family dogs.”

Employee said the store does “what’s right for the puppies” and then gaslit me

I asked to see breeding information on a fourteen-month-old Silky Terrier, who cost $3,900, and the employee showed me dog registration that showed the breeder is Kathy Slobe (43-A-3549). I mentioned that I didn’t want to see the puppy just yet, though I understood the employees wanted customers to hold puppies to help secure sales, since they earn commission.  She told me, “We don’t really care that much about the commission. It’s just making sure that they go to a good home. Just because we do want what’s right for the puppies. We don’t want it to be something where, oh we love this dog for like two weeks and then you dump it.” She added, “Yeah, and with that being said, too, I don’t know if you saw over there, but we are, we do have a rescue as well that we’re getting into place.” She then walked me over to the opposite side of the store, where there were several dog enclosures in another wall that weren’t visible from most of the puppy enclosures or from the entrance of the store. One enclosure held a single adult mixed-breed dog, who the employee said the store had named “June.”  She said the store gets animals from Leon Valley Animal Control to hold them until the owner can be found or the dog can be adopted, and that June was abandoned in a backyard when a family moved out of their home.

As we spoke about June, I entered the address for Kathy Slobe that I saw on the Silkie’s registration paperwork into google maps. The address showed several dog kennel buildings and no play area. I asked the employee about it, and said I was concerned by what I saw. She said Slobe may only do one breed. I asked, “Only breeds one breed?” In direct contradiction to what I just showed her, she answered, “Yeah. Because if they’re small like that, then they don’t do too many. Like you’ll be able to see, it’ll be like a farm on some. But normally, those buildings would be like the heated area inside.” I asked “Okay, so they’d be able to run around and play?” She said, “Exactly.”

Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store

The employee’s claim that Amish breeders have dogs spread out amongst several family members in a “neighborhood,” with each member doing a single breed is untrue. Commercial Amish dog breeders keep all their different breeds of dogs in their own kennel, regardless of whether their family members have commercial kennels of their own.

The employee’s claim that breeders keep spent breeding dogs as “family” is a lie. Breeders typically sell dogs at auctions, give or sell them to rescues (who must shoulder the burden of the dogs’ medical and rehabilitation costs), or kill them. CAPS has obtained Certificates of Veterinary Inspection showing that in 2022 the store bought from such breeders as Kevin Street (43-A-5486), who had a 122 breeding dogs noted in a January 2023 USDA inspection, and Earl and David Miller (43-A-5221), who had 174 breeding dogs noted in a September 2022 USDA inspection. Street had numerous breeds and many USDA violations during the three undercover CAPS investigations of his facility in 2013.

These breeders, like all commercial breeders, are not keeping their spent breeding dogs as family.They are getting them out of the way to make room for new breeding stock they can profit from.

The employee lied when she said all the store’s breeders have play yards. She lied when she said no dogs are kept in raised cages. She lied when she said all dogs have heated flooring. She also lied when she said breeders socialize the dogs. She used examples of specific breeders who have certain conditions for dogs which she then claimed all breeders do. No commercial breeder spends time socializing their numerous breeding dogs, however, as all their time at the kennel is spent with cleaning, feeding, preparing puppies for shipping, and maintaining the facility. Her other claims are refuted with the evidence that she showed me (the dog registration for a Silky, revealing the store buys puppies from Kathy Slobe). I documented Slobe’s puppy mill in November of 2019, and filmed several buildings of dogs in raised wire cages. I saw several dogs pace and circle in their cages for nearly a minute at a time, which is behavior that reflects boredom and stress. Furthermore, when I showed a satellite image of Slobe’s property to the employee, the image clearly portrayed small buildings with no play yard. She then immediately gaslit me and told me that instead I was looking at a small facility with heated outdoor runs and a play area.

The employee’s claim that the store’s goal is to do “what’s right for the puppies” is misleading. The store’s goal is to profit off the puppies. If the store’s manager wanted to help dogs and puppies, they would not keep the one rescue dog they have in the opposite end of the store from the puppies, and the rescue dog would certainly be brought up sooner than after several minutes of conversation about buying puppies.

Breeder information obtained while visiting the store

Michael Bontrager, E15160 Warner Ave, Hillsboro, WI, 35-A-0413 (40 adults and 26 puppies on USDA March 10, 2022, inspection).

Received a teachable moment from USDA on March 10, 2022, for two trash containers (bags) with waste in animal areas that were not leakproof containers with tightly fitted lids.

Kathy Slobe, 17167 Hwy 60, Verona, MO 65769, 43-A-3549 (130 adults, 48 puppies on USDA March 23, 2023, inspection). See CAPS 2019 undercover investigation of Slobe facility.

Breeder information obtained from 2022 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection Reports

Chester Beachy, 10495 Monroe Road 1005, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6272 (63 adults, 83 puppies on October 2022 USDA inspection).

On September 9, 2021 USDA inspection, Beachy received the following teachable moments: New litter of puppies’ feet falling through flooring, quarantine area had concrete flooring that was not impervious to moisture, water bowls tipped over so dogs/puppies didn’t have access to water.

Earl and David Miller, 10569 CR, Oronogo, MO 64855, 43-A-5221 (174 adults, 81 puppies on September 2022 USDA inspection).

Kevin Street, 18328 Pike 318, Bowling Green, MO 63334, 43-A-5486 (122 adults, 29 puppies on January 2023 USDA inspection). CAPS 2013 investigations of Street facility.

Broker information obtained from 2022 and 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection Reports

Curt and Lori Conrad/Conrad’s Cuddly Canines, 6104 Pike 9, Frankford, MO 63441, 43-B-3659 (0 adults, 53 puppies on September 2021 USDA inspection report).

Market Smart, 12619 Nettle Drive, Neosho, MO 64850, 43-B-3810 (0 adults, 42 puppies on October 2022 USDA inspection).

Southpaw Pets, 19624 Owl Rd. Neosho, MO 64550, 43-B-3812 (18 adults on January 17, 2023 USDA inspection)

Sobrad LLC/Pinnacle Pet, 11863 Kenobi Lane, Neosho, MO 64850, 43-B-3750 (45 adults, 277 puppies on September 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.”

Lack of USDA violations

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.

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