Puppy Heaven
30317 Canwood St #39
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
(818) 757-7473

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 11/08/15; 16:09

Approximate number of dogs observed at time of investigation: unknown because not in view

The store had two employees with whom we spoke, one (Israeli female, about 60 years old, 5’3”, 180 lbs., with brown and bleached-gold hair down to the top of her neck, wearing glasses) who identified herself as the store owner, but later said she is the mother of the store owner.  We mentioned Urban Puppies, and the woman said that her son (Ben Ashel/Eshel) is the ex-husband of the owner of Urban Puppies (Jenna Lee).  No puppies or breeder information was available for review in the store.  We were told puppies are normally only shown by appointment but that they would show us a puppy at the time of our visit. The walls behind and next to the woman had hundreds of photos of supposed customers.

When we asked to see a Shih Tzu, the woman had a worker get a puppy from another part of the store that was behind a door.  The woman claimed the puppies are kept away from the public to avoid distressing the dogs.  The puppy was put in a play pen.  The woman told us that all of the store’s puppies are from California, and that she has a worker pick up the puppies from local breeders.  She said all puppies are bred in people’s homes and not in cages or kennels.  Every time I asked for the puppy’s breeder information, the woman changed the subject.  She held up a sign with a large blue “A” on it, and said the “animal police” had given her a “grade A” for her store; she added that the “animal police” also inspect her breeders.  The sign had “LA County Animal Control” written on it, with the name “G. Hinojosa #151” written on the bottom right corner.  The card also showed an inspection date of 9/24/15.

I asked the woman, “But you don’t give out any breeder names?”  She responded, “Of course not.”  She then told me that Shih Tzu dogs are self-cleaning, and one will clean itself within 15 minutes of getting muddy.  She added that her breeders have breeding dogs in their homes, in open crates that allow the dogs free access to the room.

The store was originally called Star Yorkie (owned by Ben Ashel and Jenna Lee) and had been located in a house in Reseda. Los Angeles Animal Services shut down their operation in 2014 after a CAPS investigation revealed they were running a commercial pet shop in a residential zone/ CAPS told LAAS that Star Yorkie was selling puppies in violation of the Los Angeles ordinance banning the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits, but LAAS said that the law did not apply to them because they were selling from a house, not a retail store. LAAS cited Mr. Ashel for several Los Angeles code violations. Ashel closed Star Yorkie and moved his operation, renamed Puppy Heaven, to Agoura Hills.

The entryway to Puppy Heaven’s building had dozens of photos of celebrities with puppies they had bought from the store when it bore that name.  Celebrities shown in the photos included Will Smith, Leonardo DeCaprio, Miley Cyrus, and Britney Spears.

Update: March 26, 2017

CAPS met with a Puppy Heaven pet shop customer, a doctor who had purchased a Yorkshire Terrier for his girlfriend. The puppy, born on 12/23/16, had health issues. The doctor returned the dog, mostly because he was uncomfortable about the business practices of the pet shop. When he went to Puppy Heaven to look at the puppies, the owner’s mother refused to provide the breeder names before purchase. The doctor gave us a copy of a Continental Kennel Club puppy application he received after purchasing the puppy for around $3,000. It appears that the email and phone number were whited out from the application. The breeder’s signature is illegible.

The breeder listed is LA Kennel in Littlerock, CA. Both the doctor and CAPS found a website for LA Kennel and called the number listed. The man who answered said he hasn’t bred dogs in over a year, has no breeding stock on his property, and that he had “sold” LA Kennel to Puppy Heaven. CAPS believes the man who answered the phone is owner of the property. He says on the website that his name is Dale Shin and that he owns LA Kennel. He told CAPS that the website was supposed to taken down. CAPS questions how LA Kennel could have bred the dog the doctor  purchased when the facility had not bred dogs in years. CAPS wonders if Puppy Heaven may have purchased the kennel name to use on documents in place of the real breeders who are supplying puppies to their store.

Puppy Heaven had not issued a refund to the doctor, and he contested the charges with American Express.

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