Breeder: Keith Simler
Business name: Simler’s Kennel, LLC
Address: 16995 Simler Trail
City, State Zip: Kirksville, MO 63501
USDA License: 43-A-5864
Date of CAPS Investigation: 04/20/15
Time of CAPS Investigation: 1:37pm
Note: previous USDA license holder: Wanda Simler (deceased 03/06/14), 43-A-1094
Approximate number of dogs observed at the time of investigation: 140 dogs, one puppy observed.
Breeds: Soft-coated Wheaton Terriers, Bichons Frises, Beagles, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Jack Russell Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Labrador Retrievers.
I spoke to Keith Simler (Caucasian male, about 70 years old, 6’00”, 185 lbs., with short grey hair and glasses, who spoke and walked slowly and drooled on the ground when I first met him); he identified himself as the owner of the kennel. When I asked him about his kennel, he told me to speak to someone whom he referred to as the kennel’s “general manager” (Caucasian female, about 5’5”, 185 lbs., with shoulder-length dark brown hair that was slightly curly, and glasses), who described her relationship to Mr. Simler as “working for him.”
The kennel consisted of two kennel buildings near the home on the northern side of Simler Trail, with a variety of kennel structures on the southern side of the road. The kennel building near the home had six elevated indoor/outdoor cages on one side. These cages were framed with wood, made of treated-wire with rubber mesh floorings, and had metal doggie-doors to allow access to the indoor cages. A soft-coated Wheaton Terrier was in one cage that had a plastic-self feeder attached to its outdoor wall and a plastic water dish nearby on the flooring.
Two adjacent whelping buildings were of almost identical design and had cages on each of two sides of the building. These cages housed Bichons, Yorkies, and Jack Russell breeders and nursing mothers, with litters in each cage. These whelping buildings had permanent metal walls set about three feet in front of the outdoor cages that faced the road, extending the length of the outermost cage walls. The outdoor cages were about three feet long, with plastic panels covering half of their side walls. Two windows, measuring 18” by 3’, were in the metal panel, but these windows provided little ability for most of the dogs to see out of them. The design provided limited view to the outdoors for the dogs in the outermost cages, and virtually prevented the dogs in the inner cages from seeing the outdoors at all. This is not an AWA violation, but it is a Missouri state violation (2 CSR 30-9.030 (1) Facilities and Operating Standards (F) Primary enclosures 3. C. (2) (B) Exercise for dogs 4. Constant and unfettered access). The walls of the buildings facing away from the driveway did not have the metal walls in front of them, suggesting the walls on the outdoor cages were put up to prevent the public from seeing the dogs’ conditions in their cages. The indoor cages were made entirely with plastic panels. I saw a towel on the flooring of a cage housing a nursing Jack Russell mother and puppies. Outdoor cages had plastic self-feeders and water dishes.
Many of the dogs ran in circles continually as I observed them. One Maltese ran in circles the entire time I was observing the animals, whether I was near its cage or not.
There were several kennel buildings on the south side of the road. The western part of the southern kennel area consisted of five structures, all containing elevated cages with indoor/outdoor sections. Two of these structures consisted of five sets of cages only; there was no building attached to them. The other three structures had four indoor/outdoor cages on each of two sides of a building. The cages were of the same make and design as the whelping cages and also had plastic self-feeders. They had PVC pipes at the fronts of their outside cages for water, and metal sheets acted as roofs over the cages. There were two to four dogs of various breeds in each cage.
A sixth kennel structure to the east of the southern buildings was under construction and unoccupied by dogs. It was of similar design to the buildings with indoor/outdoor cages on both sides.
Southeast of the area was a series of about five kennel structures, appearing to be of the free-standing elevated/indoor/outdoor design as the structures previously described; Mr. Simler said these structures held “big dogs,” including Labrador Retrievers.