Shake A Paw – Hicksville
285 S. Broadway, Unit 11
Hicksville, NY 11801
Date and time of investigation: 10/29/20; 1:30 pm
Approximate number of puppies in store: 50
Shake a Paw Hicksville has two rooms. The front room contained pet merchandise, with a sales counter in the front left corner. There was a cage containing about six rabbits in the back right corner. The second room had about ten enclosures in the middle of the room, each with shredded paper on the flooring, glass sides about 4.5’ high, and open tops. These enclosures contained two to four puppies in each. The back wall of the store had about ten enclosures with glass fronts, wire backs, and were closed in top. These enclosures contained one to four puppies in each. The right wall had about 18 enclosures with glass fronts, wire backs, wire flooring, resting pads, and were closed on top. These enclosures contained one to three puppies in each. There were about five stalls on the left wall where customers interact with puppies individually.
None of the puppy enclosures in the store had cage cards with source, breed, sex, color, date of birth or any other information on the puppies within. Note, per Nassau County law, this information is not required to be posted if the puppies are microchipped. I saw a sign posted in the immediate right inside corner of the puppy room, about 8” high up the wall, that read “Information on the sources of these dogs and cats and the veterinary treatments received by these dogs and cats is available for review by prospective purchasers.” This signage is required per New York GBS Article 35-D §753-B 2 & 4. I saw another sign caddy corner to the first one that read “Pedigree registration means that the particular registry maintains information on the parentage and identity of the animal.” The store did not have a sign stating that USDA inspection reports are available upon request and that prospective customers can request to see the most recent inspection reports.
I had scheduled an appointment prior to my visit, per the store’s policy, to see French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Pugs. An employee (male named Ricky with dark skin, likely of Southeast Asian descent, approximately 5’10,” 180 pounds, short brown hair, Covid mask) showed me an 8-week-old English Bulldog ($8,500) and a four-month-old Pug ($4,000). When Investigator 2 asked, “Where did you get him [i.e. the Bulldog] from?” the employee replied “He’s from Iowa, I believe.” I asked “Is that where all your dogs come from?” and he replied, “All different breeders. Sometimes from Missouri, Texas, Iowa.”
Investigator 2 then asked, “How are these guys raised? It’s important for us that they are from good homes.” The employee replied, “They are from breeders.” Investigator 2 asked “Not big operations?” The employee replied “No. We have like small time breeders, kind of what’s called like a hobby breeder. They do it for fun.” I asked “But they are like people you know?” The employee replied “Yes. They’re people we’ve been using for the past 25 years.”
I then asked, “Do different breeders breed different dogs?” The employee replied “Yes.” I said, “So like that one just breeds Bulldogs?” The employee said “Yes.”
Later in the investigation, I asked, “I saw some signs that they are AKC registered?” The employee answered “Yes. AKC certified basically.” A moment later the employee said, “All the breeders are inspected by the AKC basically, to make sure all the paperwork is in order and all that stuff.” I asked, “So the AKC is kind of their health guarantee?” The employee replied “Exactly. Yes.”
When we expressed interest in purchasing one of two puppies, I asked, “Do you have any info I can get on the breeders?” The employee replied “Um, well we don’t have any info on the breeders. It prints out on the contract. So we’d have to print it out for you.” I replied “But we’re allowed to know who the breeders are before buying the dog, right?” The employee replied “Yeah, absolutely.” I said “So, yeah, if I could get that now I’d appreciate that.” The employee walked away. He returned a few minutes later without paperwork and said, “The breeder for the Bulldog is Gary Phillips.” I said “So what can you tell us about that?…. I want to know everything about where this dog is coming from. What can you tell me?” He replied “This puppy is from Oklahoma. The breeder is in Oklahoma as well.” I said “Oklahoma?” He said “Yes in Oklahoma.” Investigator 2 asked “So it’s not Iowa?” The employee replied “No it’s not Iowa. I just looked up all his exact info.”
I then said “… given the fact it’s a Bulldog and it’s really expensive, anything you could tell me about the breeder to give me confidence, I would feel better.” The employee replied “Yeah, it’s a breeder we’ve used before. Um, some breeders do have some violations. He does have a couple, but it was two years ago like from 2018.” I asked “What does that mean?” He replied “Like let’s say the USDA walked in there and they saw something was wrong, like they would write a violation for it.” I said “Well like what did he do wrong?” The employee replied, “Um, I’d have to look it up to see exactly what it was. But I think he had like a dog cage or something that was a little rusty and he got a violation for it. But he hasn’t had any violations in the past three years I believe.”
Investigator 2 then asked, “But these guys are raised in a house you said?” The employee replied “Yes, they are raised in like a breeder’s house.” I asked “And how many dogs does he have? How many breeding?” The employee replied “Right now he has, he has 200 dogs right now that he’s breeding.” I said “God, he can’t keep those in his house.” He replied “No, he’s got a huge like facility. And a house. So he lives where he breeds the dogs.” Investigator 2 asked “Do you guys personally inspect these places to make sure you’re okay with the – “ and the employee interjected with “The USDA inspects them. So, we go by what the USDA says.”
On our way out of the store, I asked an employee (female, blond hair, 55 years old, Covid mask) if the store had cats, and she told me that they had four, but they had just sold them.
Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store:
The store did not have a sign – to be posted underneath the state disclosure sign – required under Nassau County Title 79 §4 e stating that USDA inspection reports are available upon request and that prospective customers can request to see the most recent inspection reports.
The employee’s statements that the store sources its puppies from “small time breeders” and “hobby” breeders who breed “for fun” are false and misleading. CAPS’ research shows a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for breeder Daniel Gingerich (3125 Davis Road, Seymour, IA 52590, USDA # 42-A-1632). He provided puppies to Shake A Paw Hicksville in November 2020. This one CVI (CVI: Daniel Gingerich) alone shows Gingerich shipping seven different breeds of puppies to Shake A Paw Hicksville. A breeder who breeds this many different breeds is not one that can be considered a “small time breeder,” as it requires multiple breeding dogs for those seven breeds.
Furthermore, CAPS’ research found a USDA Inspection Report USDA Inspection Report: Daniel Gingerich (10-10-19) for an inspection conducted of Gingerich’s facility on October 10, 2019 which lists 124 dogs and puppies on the property. Here again, a breeding operation of this size cannot be considered a “small time breeder.” Nor is it by definition a “hobby” breeder, as per the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Guidelines for Licensing and Registration Under the Animal Welfare Act (USDA APHIS Guidelines – p. 11-12), which describes small scale breeders or “Hobby Dealers” as having four or fewer breeding females.
Also, per Title 79 §4 c of the Nassau County Pet Dealers and Pet Stores Law, “No pet dealer shall obtain animals originating from a breeder who has received ‘no access’ violations on the two most recent inspection reports from the USDA.” CAPS’ research shows that on Daniel Gingerich’s three most recent inspection reports dated 12/9/2020, 10/6/2020 and 3/11/2020, Gingerich received repeat non-critical violations for attempted inspections that were not able to be completed due to no access. (go to USDA Inspection Report: Daniel Gingerich (12/9/2020); USDA Inspection Report: Daniel Gingerich (10/6/2020); and USDA Inspection Report: Daniel Gingerich (3/11/2020).
The employee’s statement that “All the breeders are inspected by the AKC basically, to make sure all the paperwork is in order and all that stuff” and his assertion “Exactly. Yes.” when asked if the AKC was a health guarantee are both false and misleading. The AKC does not inspect USDA licensed breeders, nor does it make sure breeder paperwork is in order, nor does it serve as a health guarantee for dogs bred by USDA breeders.
Though I asked for information on the breeder of the English Bulldog (“Do you have any info I can get on the breeders” and “…we’re allowed to know who the breeders are before buying the dog, right?”), the employee never produced any. The employee’s failure to show me any paperwork containing the breeder’s name and information violated the state lemon law, New York GBS Article 35-D, §753–B 2. & 4. Yet, the store had a sign, required under the law, stating that source information is available upon request to prospective buyers.
The employee’s statement that breeder Gary Phillips (G&M Kennel, 12477 N 432 Road, Adair, OK 74330, USDA # 73-A-1747) had received a violation for a rusty cage in 2018 was not correct. CAPS research of USDA inspection reports does not show this violation. Rather, Phillips received a housing violation in 2014 for housing Beagles in outdoor enclosures with rusting and structural problems, at least four of which had bottom pipes that were “nearly rust into pieces” and “the material has deteriorated to the point that sharp edges are forming that could injury [sic] the dogs.” (USDA Inspsection Report: Gary Phillips (6-19-2014))
Finally, it should be noted that although the employee mistakenly identified the English Bulldog as coming from Iowa before later correcting this information and telling us it was from Oklahoma, his assertion “Yes” when I asked, “Do different breeders breed different dogs?” and “Yes” when I asked if that breeder “… just breeds Bulldogs?” were both false and misleading. CAPS research of USDA Inspection Reports shows that Gary Phillips breeds multiple dog breeds, including Dachshunds (see USDA Inspection Report: Gary Phillips (3-26-2014) and Beagles (see USDA Inspection Report: Gary Phillips (6-19-2014) as well as English Bulldogs. Furthermore, CAPS’ research shows a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for Sue Shold providing a Doberman to Shake A Paw Hicksville (CVI: Sue Shold/Shake A Paw Hicksville) in November 2020 as well as German Shephards and Husky puppies to Shake A Paw Lynbrook the same month (CVI: Sue Shold/Shake A Paw Lynbrook). As noted previously, breeder Daniel Gingerich, who supplied puppies to the store in November, breeds at least the seven different breeds noted on the November CVI.
Breeder info obtained during this investigation:
Gary Phillips (G&M Kennel, 12477 N 432 Road, Adair, OK 74330, USDA # 73-A-1747)
The posting of breeder and broker information is not required in Nassau County under Title 79 §5 e if the animals have a microchip with this information (consumers can request that the microchip be scanned and the source information provided, but how many prospective buyers would know any of this? CAPS has investigated the two Shake A Paw stores in Nassau County. It has always been difficult to convince Shake A Paw store employees to release the name of the breeders and brokers who supply puppies to their store, even though New York GBS Article 35-D §753-B 2. & 4. requires that they do so. Even an assistant manager stated during one investigation that breeder information was only available after purchase of a puppy. For these reasons, it nearly impossible for the average consumer to do his/her due diligence before purchasing a dog at a Nassau County pet shop.
Furthermore, even when the consumer goes online in search of USDA information on individual breeders, so many pet shop and commercial breeder advocacy websites have been created in the past couple of years that it is extremely difficult to access impartial information.