Shenandoah, TX 77385
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 5/23/23, 1933
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 50
This store is owned by Luis Marquez, and the lies the employee told me reflect statements consistently told at his stores. Puppies were kept in enclosures set into walls on two sides of the stores. The enclosures were about five feet wide and tall and 2.5 feet long. Each enclosure held between 1-4 puppies. There were about ten enclosures on each wall, made with plastic walls and plastic floorings filled with long spaces for urine to fall through. Some enclosures had blankets partially covering the floorings, but most did not. All had water bottles and toys.
The standard “Marquez two percent lie”
I spoke to an employee (Caucasian female, about 28 years old, 5’6″, 140 lbs., with short dirty-blonde hair) about the breeders the store uses. I said that I wanted to make sure the puppies don’t come from puppy mills, and the employee said, “So, as far as all the different pet stores go, they’re all going to have their different standards. As far as where they come from, we do have the highest standards. First of all, all of our breeders get checked out by the USDA. All of ours come from the top two percent of USDA breeders in the country.”
I then asked, “Do you, and if you don’t, it’s A-OK but, do you know what that means?” The same as at other Marquez-owned stores, the employee gave a rambling answer. Her answer didn’t match what I have heard from other Marquez-owned stores but followed the theme of reaching for seemingly random details of breeding, some made up or unquantifiable. She said, “So, it just means, so they’re in charge of, you know, they’re in charge of like the agriculture and that sort of thing. So, they go, and they check it out. They’re basically, they’re, as far as housing and everything they have to like certain, what is it, certain (unintelligible comment). So, like they’re allowed to have a certain amount of puppies. They’re not allowed to be like crammed, and that sort of thing. Petland, our establishment requires they have, what is it called? Like a, like they have like a heated floor. Like the AC, like a, what is it called? Like the heated floors. Like, they do like, they’re better than some people. Like they, yeah it’s like as far as standards go we have the highest standards.
She continued by saying, “All of our breeder parents get genetically tested as well. If they don’t pass inspection on that through the OFA, they’re not able to breed for us. As far as like the parent health history goes, they’re all good to go. Babies themselves have also been tested for like hips, back, all that sort of stuff. That’s why we give that ten hereditary warranty. Generally, they tend to be healthier. Like I said, no other pet store’s going to give out a ten-year health warranty. They don’t back their pups like we do. They’re not getting from the same places that we get from.”
Lies about breeding dogs
I asked what happens to breeders’ spent breeding dogs, and the employee told me that they are all given to Marquez’s stores to be sold to customers. However, despite the store buying from breeders who have dozens or even over a hundred breeding dogs, there were no grown dogs in store. I asked how often the dogs come into the store, and she told me, “Yeah, generally we don’t get the breeder pups every week. It’s usually I’d say once a month, maybe, that we would get them. Yeah, it really just depends.” I asked, “And just like one?” She said, “Usually just one. The other day we got two. But they usually, they do go pretty quick just because they’re usually very, they’re usually just, I don’t know. Really sweet, I guess. They are usually really sweet.” She told me the spent breeding dogs usually sell for one to two thousand dollars.
The employee also claimed that breeding dogs only have “one to two litters” before they are given to a Petland. When I asked her to clarify, she specified, “Yes. They’re only allowed to have one to two litters. And then once they retire them, we actually get them in store, and then we get to find them homes, homes as well.”
I asked her if breeding dogs are socialized, and she kept telling me that the puppies are socialized. I reminded her that I was asking her about the dogs, and she told me that the Petland YouTube video, which was playing on a TV in the store, showed how the dogs get to run and play in open grassy yards. She told me, “Yeah, so the breeders that we use, they treat them more like family rather than, you know, business, basically. Like I said, the housing that they’re in, like I said, it’s nice. And then they get like their outdoor time. It might pop up in another video, we might have just missed it. But yeah, they go out and they do all their play time and stuff like that. Our owner actually goes to the breeders and hand selects the puppies. So, as far as like, like I said, the quality and that sort of thing, that’s our owner right there on the screen. That’s a breeder right there. So, in terms of like quality, or I guess, like, yeah quality, we work, we’re working with the top.”
Employee claimed behavioral problems are always the fault of non-Petland dogs
Regarding the socialization of puppies, she gave me an explanation of puppies’ socialization: if Petland puppies have behavioral problems, the fault must lie with other animals interacting with them. She said, “As far as pups go, they’re not just around their litter. They’re around all kinds of pups. They’re also around all kinds of people. So, they’re already, as far as the babies go, they’re very well socialized. They get along with, generally it’s going to be like if y’all have another dog, it’s going to be more so if your other pup would get along with these ones. Because these babies love everybody.”
Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations by store
The employee’s claim that the store uses “the top two percent of USDA breeders in the country” is a lie consistently told by employees of Petlands owned by Luis Marquez. There is no such thing as a ranking system of USDA breeders. Marquez simply claims that the breeders he purchases from are the “top two percent,” and his employees make it sound as though doing so is part of a USDA government ranking system when it is not.
The employee’s claim that the store’s puppies “tend to be healthier” is a misleading statement. Puppies from commercial breeders have undeveloped immune systems and are not fully vaccinated compared to dogs at shelters. The employee attempted to claim the store’s breeders have “healthier” puppies than other breeders, but Petland stores routinely sell sick puppies to consumers. Puppies’ immune systems are suppressed as they are taken from their mothers and transported to stores, and their systems often don’t develop until they are purchased by a customer. This is the case with all bred puppies and pet stores, despite the employee’s claim.
The employee’s claim that breeding dogs are all sold through Marquez’s stores is a lie. CAPS obtained Certificates of Veterinary Inspection from 2022 revealing that the store buys from numerous breeders with dozens of breeding dogs, including Loren Reiff (43-A-6526) who had 83 dogs, Prairie View Kennel (43-A-6410) who had 97 dogs, and Ben Schwartz (43-A-6707) who had 125 dogs. If the store was selling all the spent breeding dogs of their breeders, they would constantly be full of older breeding dogs. The employee’s claim that the dogs are socialized is a lie. Commercial breeders do not spend time with their dogs other than what is necessary for cleaning and feeding.
The employee’s claim that any problems that occur between Petland puppies and other pets is the fault of the other pets is false. Dogs are individuals and their personalities are not guaranteed, regardless of their genetic backgrounds.
Breeder information obtained from 2022 and 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection
Amos Bender, 2710 560th St., SW, Kalona, IA 52247, no USDA license found.
Duane Bontrager, 5101 Hazelwood Ave SW, Kalona, IA 52247, no USDA license found.
Henry Byler, 2565 220th St., Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1614 (49 adults, 4 puppies on USDA inspection April 17, 2023).
April 4, 2023, USDA inspection violations: Shih Tzu with large hairless legion on shoulder, clump of hard dark material on head and neck. Not following directions of Program of Veterinary Care. Medicine in refrigerator not at correct temperature. Housekeeping violations such as clutter and spilled dog food.
Emily DeJong, 27313 Hwy J3T, Moravia, IA 52571, 42-A-1635 (8 adults, 3 puppies on USDA inspection January 31, 2023).
Vernon Detweiler, 2170 210th St., Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1654 (54 adults, 35 puppies on USDA inspection December 7, 2022).
Wayne and Lucy Gingerich, 2688 Hwy J46, Seymour, IA 52590, no USDA license found.
Monroe Herschberger, 16033 250th St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1647 (13 adults, 9 puppies on USDA re-license inspection August 23, 2021).
Jay Kauffman, 20342 314th Street, Jamesport, MO 64648, no USDA license found.
Chris Kramer, 26718 330th Street, Jamesport, MO 64648, 43-A-6523 (18 adults, 13 puppies on October 2022 USDA inspection).
Steven and Velma Kurtz, 20709 300th Street, Jamesport, MO 64648, 43-A-6432 (53 adults, 49 puppies on March 2022 USDA inspection).
Ivan H. Mast/Country Road Kennels, 1126 Denison, Fairbank, IA 50629, 42-A-1693 (17 adults, 13 puppies on USDA inspection January 23, 2023).
Benjamin Miller, 26040 Rocky Ave., Greentop, MO 63546, no USDA license found.
Melvin Miller/Windy Knoll Kennel, 28840 153rd Ave., Cincinatti, IA 52549, 42-A-1579 (30 adults, 10 puppies on February 24, 2022, USDA inspection), no longer licensed as of July 11, 2023.
Jay Mullett/Prairie View Kennel, 12025 CR 8110, West Plains, MO 65775, 43-A-6410 (92 adults, 93 puppies on November 4, 2022 USDA inspection).
On November 4, 2022, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), issued violations for dog jumping from pen to pen.
Marvin Mullet/Cloveridge Kennel, 2640 Garden, Corydon, IA 50060, 42-A-1515 (71 adults, 31 puppies on USDA inspection May 23, 2023).
Marvin Nisley, 2848 Edison, Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1509 (70 adults, 45 puppies on USDA re-license inspection October 19, 2022).
Melvin Nisley, 3180 205th St., Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1470 (38 adults, 30 puppies on USDA re-license inspection May 2, 2022).
Loren Reiff, 18247 CR 358, Flemington, MO 65650, 43-A-6526 (83 adults, 57 puppies on April 2022 USDA inspection).
Jeremy Rogers/Daynes Ridge Kennel, 25155 450th St., Centerville, IA 52544, 42-A-1519 (22 adults, 0 puppies on USDA inspection January 11, 2022).
Esther D. Schlabach/That’ll Do Kennel, 2842 200th St., Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1553 (18 adults, 5 puppies on USDA re-license inspection October 19, 2022).
Eli Schrock, 15379 180th St., Drakesville, IA 52552, 42-A-1558 (27 adults, 7 puppies on USDA inspection November 1, 2022).
On November 1, 2022, USDA inspection, received violation for puppies who were not being vaccinated or receiving intestinal parasite treatments. Also received violation for not maintaining accurate medical records of the animals.
Robert Schrock, 13484 202nd St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1652 (35 adults, 4 puppies on USDA inspection October 20, 2022).
Ben Schwartz, 14500 Crow Road, Licking, MO 65542, 43-A-6707 (125 adults, 45 puppies on July 2022 USDA inspection).
Sam Schwartz, 22402 St Hwy 156, LaPlanta, MO 63549, 43-A-6130 (40 adults, 12 puppies on September 2021 USDA inspection report).
Simon Schwartz, 17420 Boone Creek Road, Licking, MO 65542, 43-A-6598 (49 adults, 19 puppies on USDA March 2022 inspection).
Received violation from MDA on March 30, 2023 inspection for dogs’ examinations not being up to date.
David Troyer, 18851 Kofhal Road, Licking, MO 65542, 43-A-6667 (17 adults, 0 puppies on September 2022 USDA inspection).
Received violation from MDA on January 9, 2023 for enclosures too small for adult dogs.
Ivan Troyer/Stoney Creek Kennel, 18195 200th St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1534 (44 adults, 52 puppies on USDA re-license inspection March 28, 2023).
Vernon Troyer/Shadow Valley, 12672 200th St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1531 (84 adults, 36 puppies on USDA inspection October 20, 2022).
Daniel D. Yoder, 22475 Hwy 63, Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1638 (11 adults, 15 puppies on USDA re-license inspection January 24, 2023).
James and Sarah Yoder, 25768 Ice Ave., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1537 (36 adults, 31 puppies on USDA inspection March 28, 2022).
Mark Yoder, 15910 240th St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1577 (65 adults, 80 puppies on USDA re-license inspection January 7, 2022).
Marvin Yoder, 24951 Dewberry Ave., Moulton, IA 52572, 42-A-1594 (23 adults, 14 puppies on USDA re-license inspection March 2, 2023).
Melvin Yoder/Pondview Kennel, 27367 Anchor Way, Greentop, MO 63546, 43-A-6063 (24 adults, 14 puppies on USDA March 2022 inspection).
Melvin and Mary Yoder, 3010 Edison, Seymour, IA 52590, 42-A-1605 (34 adults, 6 puppies on USDA inspection February 15, 2023).
On USDA inspection February 15, 2023, received violation for housing 2 (each) three-month-old puppies with an adult dog that was not their mother. Also, violations for Bulldog receiving penicillin with no treatment plan and 4 dogs tested for heartworm/fecals with no results documented.
Merlin Yoder, 17883 Ebony, Drakesville, IA 52552, 42-A-1694 (20 adults, 8 puppies on USDA inspection January 23, 2023).
On USDA inspection dated January 23, 2023, received violation for medical examinations of 20 dogs that were not documented.
Mervin Ezra Yoder, 19869 180th Ave., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1686 (15 adults, 0 puppies on USDA inspection November 2, 2022).
Nelson Yoder, 23229 Fir Ave., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-A-1679 (17 adults, 12 puppies on USDA inspection May 4, 2022).
Broker information obtained from 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection Reports
K9 Partner, LLC, 19162 Harvest Ave., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-B-0335 (0 adults, 8 puppies on 04-06-23 USDA inspection). Burt Basi, the owner of K9 Partner, is a lawyer in Longboat Key, FL. He incorporated K9 Partner initially under the name of Family Pets, LLC with the Iowa Secretary of State in October 2020. He is involved with various business ventures with Luis Marquez. The address in Bloomfield is associated with an Amish family named Yutzy. They are most likely running the brokerage facility.
Marquez associates Basi and Juan Fernandez Barquin, Jr., a member of the Florida House of Representatives and clerk of the court and comptroller for Miami-Dade County, are also listed as registered agents on Florida incorporation documents for K9 Partners, Inc., 58-B-0722, 8004 NW 154th St. #232, Miami Lakes, FL, which is a UPS store. K9 Partners, Inc. was set up by lawyer Andrew Rohne of Apex Business Consulting in Marion, IL in 2020.
Officer/Director Detail does not list individuals but companies: Canines and Pooches, Inc., 2020 NW 150th Ave, Suite 300A, Pembroke Pines, FL, Canine Shadows at the same address, and The Dynamic Puppy at the Miami Lakes UPS store address. Marquez also has a company called Pet Care Solutions, Inc. at 8181 NW 154Th St., Miami Lakes, FL.
USDA pre-license inspection reports have the Miami Lakes UPS store address. How can USDA inspect a facility that is run from a UPS store? Marquez has to be holding puppies at some of his pet shops, which is where USDA must be doing inspections.
Nisley, Regina D./Shepherd Hills Kennel, 13185 220th St., Bloomfield, IA 52537, 42-B-0332 (97 adults, 54 puppies on USDA inspection October 18, 2022).
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.
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.