Breeder: Randy Stoen
Address: 828 Cardinal Ave
City, State Zip: Dows, IA 50071
USDA License: 42-A-0895
Date of CAPS Investigation: 04/16/15
Time of CAPS Investigation: 12:20pm
Weather at time of investigation: 71 degrees Fahrenheit and partly cloudy
Breeds: Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, Maltese, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese, Pekingese
Approximate number of dogs observed at time of investigation: the entire kennel wasn’t observed; Randy claimed to have 65 breeding dogs, and about 16 puppies were observed
I spoke with Randy Stoen (Caucasian male, about 65 years old, 6’2”, 200 lbs., with short grey hair and glasses), and met a woman who was at his residence (Caucasian female, about 60 years old, 5’6”, with long brown hair with gray roots). Randy was the one who showed me his kennel and spoke to me about his breeding business.
Randy’s whelping area was located in a basement under his house, while the primary kennel area consisted of various kennel structures west and north of the house. I focused on observing the western structures, which contained smaller-breed dogs. The northern enclosures contained larger-breed dogs, primarily Labradors.
Whelping pens in the basement
The underground whelping area was a basement with about seven whelping pens in two rooms. These pens contained various breeds, with each pen housing a nursing mother and her puppies; one pen only contained two young Maltese puppies. The pens had concrete floorings, with either wooden walls or the cinder-block wall of the basement serving as the pen wall. Some of the pens had thick-gauge metal wire across the front of the pen. The cinder blocks were chipped and worn with dents and rough surfaces that were filled with dirt and dust, and the bottoms of the walls had stains across them that appeared dark brown and yellow, presumably from urine and feces. The wooden walls were scratched and had peeling paint near their bottom surfaces (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (c) Surfaces (1) General requirements).
Whelping boxes were made of wood and measured about three feet long and two feet wide, with walls between six and nine inches high. With their top edges torn off and worn away, they appeared to have been chewed on by the dogs they contained; some of these boxes had the tops of one or two walls chewed across their entire lengths, with areas worn down one or more inches from their original height (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (c) Surfaces (1) General requirements). There were pieces of carpet on the floorings of the whelping boxes, and sawdust was scattered thinly across the pen floorings. There were heating lamps, self-feeders, and food and water dishes on these pen floorings; most of the food dishes had sawdust mixed with or partially covering the feed, and sawdust covered the bottoms of the water dishes (3.9 Feeding (b) Food receptacles must be placed to minimize contamination by excreta and pests).
Buildings west of the residence
The kennel area for breeding dogs included various structures. To the west of Randy’s house was a metal barn containing caged rabbits. Just to the north of the rabbit building were two kennel structures having indoor/outdoor runs; the outdoor runs had wire walls, cement floorings, and doggie-doors allowing access to their indoor areas. These two structures were arranged east and west of each other, with the eastern structure having two runs and the western structure having dog runs. I only observed the eastern structure closely, and saw that one of its enclosures had a pen holding two Cocker Spaniels and another held four miniature Poodles. Several days of fecal accumulation was spread across the floorings, mashed into the concrete and scattered across the entire runs (Sec 3.11 Cleaning, Sanitization, Housekeeping, and Pest Control (a) Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Wooden ramps in the pens led up to the doggie-doors, the surfaces of which were worn, scratched, and chewed all the way around them (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (c) Surfaces (1) General requirements). Months of feces buildup covered the ground outside the runs, apparently washed off the runs (Sec 3.11 Cleaning, Sanitization, Housekeeping, and Pest Control (a) Cleaning of primary enclosures). Near the Poodle enclosures was an empty metal cage on stilts and cinder blocks, covered by a plastic sheet with sticks and leaves piled over the sheet (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (b) Condition and site).
South of the rabbit building was a building with indoor/outdoor runs similar in design to the previously described dog runs. There were three runs, each holding 2 to 5 dogs of various small breeds. The floorings were cleaner than the other runs I observed, though plastic water dishes on the floorings had been chewed across their entire top surfaces (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (c) Surfaces (1) General requirements). I asked Randy if his USDA inspector, whom he said was named Corbin, had talked to him about chewed surfaces of the bowls. He responded, “They don’t say nothing about that. I don’t give a shit. Hell, I just tell them what I think.”
Another kennel building with chain link runs attached to it was to the south, but I did not see any dogs in these runs. Several other kennel structures were on the northern end of the property, and from a distance I saw the eastern ones held Labradors. I did not observe them closely, however.
Conversation about tax evasion
Randy told me that he accepts only cash payments for puppies, but he will take a check as a down payment for half the value of a puppy. He said that he does this because if he took checks only, he would have to “adjust his income.” He added, “I say, every time you give me a check I have to declare it. I have to declare that. So people understand. Most of them, I just tell them. I say, [if you] come up here, [and] you’re gonna give me a check, then why bother to stop?” I mentioned that having to pay vet bills could cause a breeder to report income, and Randy responded, “I just, I usually go and have a vet certificate out of them, and I just pay them in cash for it. And my vet, I use the veterinarian in Belmont for the little dogs, and I use the veterinarian over in Dumont for the big dogs.” Randy later said the veterinarian in Dumont is a woman.