Puppies of Westport
255 Westport Ave
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 222-5400

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 4/22/19; 12:47

Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 50

Puppies were kept in enclosures with solid walls on three sides, one being clear plastic, wire walls on their backs, and wire floorings. The enclosures were set up against a wall on one side of the store. Puppies’ enclosures had cards on them with their breeder information, including street address, city, state, name and USDA license number. Puppies that were brokered by someone had the same information for the broker as well. Cards noted USDA inspection reports were available to customers. A sign offering source information on puppies and a consumer rights sign was underneath the clerk counter, facing outward, below waist height. 

I spoke to an employee (Hispanic female, about 20 years old, 5’5″, 100 lbs, with long black hair) who told me store employees transport puppies from the breeders to the store. She said, “Our veterinary tech will go, and also Lauren who’s the owner, her daughter is a neurosurgeon for dogs and cats, so she will also go and check out the breeders as well. If she doesn’t like anything that she does see, then we won’t get the dogs from there. Like we have security cameras and all that.” 

I asked about the conditions of the kennels, and she showed me a binder with pictures of what she said were the store’s breeders. The pictures showed dogs in concrete run, solid whelping boxes, and children’s laps. I asked, “Now with this style, like the concrete runs and that (pointing to a whelping box), is that how all the breeders are?” She responded, “Yes.” I asked, “Okay, gotcha. They don’t have like wire cages and stuff, or anything like that?” She then shook her head. I asked, “But you don’t know anything else specific about if they’re like, I don’t know, if they’re like, if the breeders have like hundreds of dogs or just a few dozen or anything like that?” She responded, “I think they only have like a few. They only do a few at a time.” I then asked, “Do they do like multiple breeds, or do they just do one or two breeds?” She answered, “I think max like three breeds.” She also claimed a veterinarian checks all of the puppies in the store every week.

The employee allowed me to take a photograph of the breeder information for a Pomski puppy (Sandy Blake) and look at USDA inspection reports for Blake’s SanJon Kennels.

Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store:

The employee’s claim that a vet tech and animal neurosurgeon visit the store’s breeders is contradicted by a statement that one of the store’s breeders and brokers, Sandy Blake with SanJon kennel, made to me on 3/18/15. I asked Sandy, “Do you have to deal with pet stores coming to your facility and wanting to do their own inspections and stuff?” Sandy shook her head to indicate no. I asked, “Never?” She shook her head again. She then added, “I have some stores that we have in this area that will come by, and I let them come by.” She explained she does not allow anyone to take pictures of her kennel, other than letting some stores take pictures from her driveway, which is about 300 feet from her kennel and does not give a full view of the facility. 

The employee’s claim that breeders only have a few dogs and do “max like three breeds” is false. I investigated the store’s breeder, Betty Lawson (previously named Betty Mings) in Mountain Grove, MO, on 3/17/15 and saw about 86 dogs and 30 puppies on her property, including the following breeds of adult dogs: Chihuahuas, Beagles, Poodles, Jack Russell Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Rat Terrier and Basset Hounds. Mings also mentioned Cocker Spaniels.

Breeder info:

The following were obtained from cage cards in the store:

Breeder / Broker

  1. Rodney and Randy Blooser, 43-A-4957 / SanJon Kennels, 2560 US Hwy 65, Louisburg, MO 65685, 43-B-3785
  2. Freeman Detweiler, 43-A-4826 / Conrad’s Cuddly Canines, 6104 Pike 9, Frankford, MO 63441, 43-B-3659
  3. David Blackburn, 21557 320th St, Jamesport, MO 64648, 43-A-6137 / Conrad’s
  4. Shirley Cook, RT 1 Box 1250, Urbana, MO 65767, 43-A-4860 / SanJon
  5. Cindy Dilbeck, 19699 E 430 Rd, Jay, OK 74346, 73-A-2698 / Karen Buffalohead, PO Box 943, Langley, OK 74350, 73-B-1843
  6. Karey Marrs, 4523 SO 60th Rd, Fair Play, MO 65649, 43-A-5838 / SanJon
  7. Ann Quinn, 8114 State Hwy M, Nianguia, MO 65713, 43-A-5418 / SanJon
  8. Kent Horn, 10142 Hwy AA, Grovespring, MO 65662, 43-A-0846
  9. Sheila Caraway, PO Box 592, Redwater, TX 75573, 74-A-1523 / Conrad’s
  10. Samuel Miller, 19003 N Barnett School Rd, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6230 / QD Kennels, 9603 Pike 12, Frankford, MO 63441, 43-B-377
  11. Linda Miller, 3151Rd 143, Annapolis, MO 63620, 43-B-3643
  12. Donna Tobias, 65 N CR 1800, West Point, IL 62380, 33-A-0456 / Conrad’s
  13. Ben Borntrager, 1408 Audrain Rd, Clark, MO 65243, 43-A-6081 / Conrad’s
  14. John Blake, 2560 US Hwy 65, Louisburg, MO 65685, 43-A-6311 / SanJon
  15. Megan Proctor, 2981 Hwy H, Farmington, MO 63640, 43-A-6320
  16. Angelia Kochs, 1903 Street Hwy AC, Niangua, MO 65713, 43-A-5611 / SanJon
    Kochs’s numerous USDA violations in 2013 and 2014 included dog with excessively long toe nails affecting gait and placement of feet, shivering dog with excessively long toe nails affecting gait, excessively matted or missing fur, leaning hutch-type housing, no wind/rain breaks, feces packed into flooring of enclosures, fecal accumulation under cages, swollen tissue between toe digits affecting weight bearing, and expired medications.
  1. Audrey Rottinghaus, 1377 144th Rd, Seneca, KS 66538, 48-A-2219
    Audrey Rottinghaus is the mother of Sandra, who runs  a large puppy mill in Seneca with her son, Derek. Audrey’s 2012 USDA violations included dark brown matter on teeth, infected ears, jagged, rusty food receptacles, caked grime on food receptacles, reddened foot pad affecting weight bearing, gaps in enclosures, open bags of feed, dark matter in self-feeders, and chewed plastic food receptacles.
  1. Betty Lawson, 7930 Hwy 95, Mt Grove, MO 65711, 43-A-0516

CAPS investigation of Betty Mings (now Lawson)
My report documents multiple USDA violations: blood scabs on ear and nose of a dog; no wind/rain breaks for enclosures; fecal accumulation; sagging wire on ceiling of cage.
Lawson’s 2014 USDA violations included a dog with a swollen red pad and a very long and curled toenail on dewclaw that was pressing on skin, insufficient headroom (also cited in 2012), and missing identifications for some of the dogs.

  1. Suzi Livengood, 43702 Hwy 42 W, Dixon, MO 65459, 43-A-4659 / Conrad’s
  2. Kent Horn, Grovespring, MO 65662, Oberlin, KS 67749, 43-A0846
  3. Freda Horton, 104 CR 644, Green Forest, AR 72639, 71-A-0806 / SanJon
  4. Karey Marrs, 4523 SO 60th Rd, Fair Play, MO 65649, 43-A-5838 / SanJon

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