Pick a Pet
3939 Interstate 35, #304
San Marcos, TX
(210) 568-3711

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 02/21/22; 1436

Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: about 28 puppies

The store had 15 puppy enclosures set in a wall across from the entrance doorway. Each enclosure had one to two puppies of various breeds, solid walls, shredded paper on their floorings, water bottles and food dishes. Enclosures were two to three feet long, and about two feet tall, but only about 18 inches wide. About five puppies were each about 18-20 inches long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails, making them unable to turn around in their enclosures without curling their bodies.

I heard an employee (male, about 40 years old, 6’2″, 260 lbs., with short black hair and a black beard and moustache) explain to a customer that no puppies can be shown to customers who aren’t serious about buying one, to prevent disease from spreading to puppies. I asked the employee about the store’s breeders, and he said, “We always deal with breeders that have licenses. That way we know it’s not some back yard, or anything like puppy mill related.” He added, “So every breeder has to have a license that basically has a bar code, from that bar code you can basically read all the information you want from them.” The employee told me the licenses he was referring to are state licenses, and that I can scan the information on them that comes directly from breeders in emails. I asked if I could see those codes for puppies I’m interested in, and he told me, “Before purchase? No, because we don’t show anything like that, just because of the contract that we are with the breeders.” I asked, “Oh, you can’t show their info before you sell?” He confirmed by saying, “Yes.”

I then asked the employee, “Do you know, like, like you know, do the breeders have like a few dogs, or hundreds of dogs? Do they keep them in a home?” He said, “Oh that, I have no idea.” He told me, “I just work the floor,” and shook his head when I asked if he knew if breeders keep dogs in cages. I then asked him about specifics on licenses, and he asked another employee (male, about 30 years old, 5’8″, 200 lbs., with short black hair). The second employee told me the breeders are USDA licensed. I then asked, “I’ve heard of, do you know if that means, like is there a limit on how many dogs they can have?” The second employee responded, “Yes. They have a cap on the litter count. So like how many litters their parents can have. It’s not just like a continuous pumping out babies.” I asked, “And do you know, if it’s USDA, can the dogs be in cages or are they in the home?” He told me, “You know, I’m not a hundred percent sure on that. That would have to be for the owner, a question for the owner. But yeah, as far as I know it’s USDA-approved and at the same time we have a limitation. Because we also get the breeding rights limitations, too. Because based on like what that, what the blood line is for that dog. Some of the dogs come with their pedigree. And we have to let you know up front, hey, there’s a limitation.” I then specifically asked, “Okay, so the USDA limits litters?” He answered, “Yeah.”

I then clarified that I wanted to know about breeding conditions for where the store’s puppies came from, and he told me, “Well you get all the registration paperwork as well, so you can always look into the breeder (unintelligible comment).” I said, “Oh no, like beforehand. If there’s a way to know beforehand.” He responded, “Not beforehand. Cause we can’t like necessarily disclose all that information.” I asked, “But you don’t know if the USDA prevents them from being a puppy mill? Like if the USDA says, like what, like if the USDA says the dogs have to run free, or if the dogs are in a…” He interrupted to say, “I wouldn’t know that.”

I asked if the owner might know, and he told me that the owner may. I asked for a card, and he gave me one as he said, “I have like a card, but there’s no way to directly contact the owner, though.” He told me to email the store, which a manager will see and may pass on to the owner. I asked him, “Who’s the owner, and he said, “I’m not allowed to disclose that.” I asked, “Oh really? You can’t say who the owner is?” He said, “No, yeah. I like don’t even personally know him.” I asked, “You don’t even know him?” He said, “I know he’s a dude (unintelligible comment).” I asked if the owner was ever in the store, and he said, “I mean, he’s here once in a while, but he’s not like somebody that I personally know like on a one-on-one basis.”

Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store:

The employee’s claim that the USDA limits how many litters that breeders can have is false. No such USDA policy exists.

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