The Puppy Store Utah
1055 W. Red Cliffs Dr.
Washington, UT 84789
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 8/27/19; 1011
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 8
Puppies were kept in pens in the main store area and boxes set in a wall. The pens were raised, open-topped enclosures with glass walls and solid floorings covered in shredded paper. There were five such pens in the store. The boxes were set in a bank in a store wall, two over another two, and had solid walls and floorings, the outer walls made of class for customers to see in and the floorings covered in shredded paper. Each enclosure held one to two puppies, though not all enclosures were occupied.
An employee, identified on his business card as Blake Simmons ((Caucasian male, about 28 years old, 5’8″, 165 lbs, with shoulder-length black hair combed back) told me financing is available on all puppies the store sells, including puppies brought in from California as rescues. He said that it costs between $300 and $500 to send a puppy to the store from CA. He explained Puppy House is one of 10 stores under one owner, with the stores being in UT, NV, and CA.
Blake explained that CA passed a law that “made it so that you have to take the registration from all of their dogs.” I asked, “Would they still come from reputable breeders?” He answered, “Yeah. So they’re still from our same breeders. It’s just they have to pretty much, kinda’ like, de-badge them. They have to take away their pedigrees, and then sell them as rescues.” He didn’t recognize the names Pet Connect Rescue or Hobo K-9 Rescue when I brought them up as rescues the store may use, and said, “They come from the same breeders, so it’s just really, I feel like we just give ’em…yeah, they’re just switched into a rescue.”
I asked him to explain the conditions dogs are kept in at breeders’ facilities, and he said all breeders are USDA and state licensed, and claimed the USDA doesn’t allow breeders to have five or more female dogs. He said that breeders generally have a stud and two to four females. He told me the store doesn’t use “kennel breeders” and instead uses people who breed as a hobby. He also claimed that if I called the USDA, I can get a breeder’s “membership number” I can use to look a breeder up.
Blake showed me paperwork on a puppy, bred by Martin and Esther Miller and brokered by J.A.K.’s and another puppy bred by AJ’s Angels Inc. He also told me that a puppy in the store is being sold as a rescue, though he showed me a pedigree and breeder information on the puppy. The puppy was listed as a Shih Tzu on the puppy’s paperwork and noted as bred by Chris McGill in OK. He said that the store contacted the breeder after realizing the puppy had unusual eye color for a Shih Tzu, and discovered the puppy is a Shih Tzu/Pekingese mix. He explained that after that discovery, the store decided to call the puppy a “rescue.”
He showed me a picture of cages in a van and said it was a picture of how puppies are transported to the store. He noted that puppies from CA are driven to SUT instead of flown in. Blake told me that store has sold six puppies in the last three days.
The following were obtained from pedigrees and paperwork on individual puppies, shows to me by a store employee:
- Breeder: AJ’s Angels Cushing, MN, Broker: J.A.K.’s Puppies
See information on AJ’s Angels below.
- Breeder: Martin J & Esther Miller, 3205 N 425 W Lagrange, IN 46761, Broker: J.A.K.’s Puppies, 2685 Grant Ave, PO Box 245, Britt, IA 50423
See information on J.A.K.’s Puppies below.
- Breeder: Chris McGill, OK
Evidence contradicting statements made by the employee:
The employee’s claim the USDA restricts breeders to fewer than five female dogs is false. There is no such USDA regulation. In fact, USDA requires licensing for breeders engaged in resale who have at least four breeding females and make at least $500 gross profit a year.
The employee’s claim the USDA gives the public “membership numbers” on breeders to look up info on them is false. Under the Trump Administration, the USDA has removed inspection reports from an online data base and provided few documents requested through a Freedome of Information Act request: they redact inspection reports and refuse to provide USDA photographs and videos.
The employee’s claim that breeders are not “kennel breeders” and have less than five females and only one stud is refuted by a CAPS investigation of the store’s breeder AJ’s Angels. CAPS investigated the breeder on 7/10/19 and found hundreds of dogs in elevated wire cages. Many of the dogs were pacing and circling their cages constantly, stereotypes indicative of being constantly confined with a lack of enrichment.
AJ’s Angels sells to J.A.K.’s Puppies, a large broker in Britt, IA. CAPS has investigated breeders in Iowa and Wisonsin who sell to J.A.K.’s. All of them were USDA-licensed dog breeding facilities – puppy mills with violations. J.A.K.’s Puppies has formed two 501(c)(3) “rescues” to circumvent California’s Pet Rescue and Adoption Act and the Chicago ordinance, both of which ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits. A CAPS investigation revealed that the strorefront office listed as the the address for Hobo K-9 Resuce was actually for J.A.K.’s Puppies.
The store’s term of “rescue” for puppies that are from breeders but simply have their registration papers removed is misleading, since the puppies were not rescued from humane societies but rather purpose-bred for pet stores. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)