The Puppy Store
7211 Plaza Center Dr #160
West Jordan, UT 84084
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 8/28/19; 1236
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 8
Puppies were kept in raised pens and fully-enclosed boxes set in a bank in a wall. There were four raised pens, open-topped, with glass walls and solid floorings covered in shredded paper. The banked boxes had solid walls in floorings, the outside walls being glass for customers to see into and the floorings covered shredded paper. There were three rows of four boxes, set over each other. Enclosures held one to two puppies, and not all were occupied.
Two employees were at the store (Caucasian female, about 30 years old, 5’6″, 125 lbs., with short blonde hair and Caucasian female, about 30 years old, 5’6″, 110 lbs., with long blonde hair). The short-haired employee was the one I primarily spoke to, and unless noted otherwise below, provided me with all of the following information.
I asked why there are puppies from California on the store’s website. The employee said that the puppies from CA are still a part of “my store,” which is one of nine different locations. She added that the company started in California and can get CA puppies to the Salt Lake City store; puppies are available in stores in CA, NV, and UT. The long-haired employee told me puppies from CA won’t have pedigrees because they’re from rescues. I asked if rescue puppies from CA would still be from reputable breeders, and the long-haired employee nodded her head before the short-haired employee said the puppies come from Bark [Adoptions] Rescue. I mentioned the puppies I saw online look like purebreds and she said she doesn’t know how the rescues get the puppies but she doesn’t have pedigrees on them. She told me there’s financing on rescue puppies and didn’t know about the price difference between rescues and bred puppies. She said that she didn’t know if I could get a puppy directly through Bark [Adoptions] Rescue, and that if I did I wouldn’t get a health warranty or numerous other things offered by buying a rescue puppy from The Puppy Store.
She told me that the store doesn’t sell puppies from puppy mills, except that she couldn’t guarantee where the rescues have come from. She did tell me that if a Bark [Adoptions] Rescue puppy came from a puppy mill, it was because the puppy was rescued from a mill and she guaranteed the mill would not have made a profit from the puppy.
The employee told me the store only uses private, licensed breeders who have no violations on their record. She claimed that if a breeder has an overturned dog bowl that’s empty, it can be an Animal Welfare Act violations. She told me the store doesn’t buy from UT breeders because they want to use quality breeders from out-of-state that will bring in breeders that are “underpopulated” in UT. She admitted knowing no other specifics about breeders, but claimed USDA-licensed breeders who comply with the AWA don’t overbreed dogs, aren’t overcrowded, and have healthy dogs.
The employee showed me a pedigree bred by Geri Higgins in Kirksville, MO. I saw J.A.K.’s Puppies on the puppy’s paperwork. When I asked about J.A.K.’s, the employee said J.A.K.’s helps the store find reputable breeders, and the store buys puppies from J.A.K.’s. She showed me a website called Petkey with photographs of puppies and dogs on blankets and sitting on grass. She claimed these are the dogs that breed puppies for the store. She initially told me she didn’t know if breeders keep dogs in cages or in their houses, but as she showed me photos she began to say that the dogs she was looking at were kept in homes with kennel owners. claimed most breeders only breed dogs for four to five heats, and claimed breeders typically skip females’ first heat cycle.
I mentioned I wanted to look up breeders online to verify they aren’t puppy mills, and she told me it’s difficult to find information online about the store’s breeders because they’re private, and told me about a customer who researched the wrong breeder when looking up the source of a puppy from the store.
The following were obtained from pedigrees of puppies in the store:
- Breeder: Geri Higgins, 2402 E Illinois St, Kirksville, MO 63501, 43-A-3870
- Breeder: Thelma and Lawrence Nolt, Charles City IA, 42-A-1156
USDA photos from 2010 show dog with excessively long nails, worn wooden surfaces not impervious to moisture, and open supplies of food and bedding (wood shavings).
- Broker: J.A.K.’s Puppies, Britt, IA, 42-B-0271
CAPS has investigated breeders in Iowa and Wisonsin who sell to J.A.K.’s Puppies. 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 storefront office listed as the address for Hobo K-9 Rescue was actually for J.A.K.’s Puppies.
Evidence contradicting statements made by the employee:
The employee’s claim that an overturned dog bowl is an AWA infraction is false. There is no such violation noted in the AWA. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that USDA breeders only breed dogs for four to five heats and skip females’ first heat cycle is contradicted by the hundreds of breeders CAPS has investigated who have never skipped their females’ first breeding cycle or only bred dogs for four to five heats. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that AWA compliant breeders don’t overbreed dogs, aren’t overcrowded, and are healthy is misleading. CAPS has investigated hundreds of USDA-licensed breeders and consistently found dogs bred for seven to eight years of age spinning in cages and pacing incessantly. These are stereotypies revealing the dogs are stressed from lack of social interaction and constant confinement. The general public does not consider dogs in cages without space to run freely to not be overcrowded, dogs bred for over five years to not be overbred, and dogs suffering from constant stress to not be healthy. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that Bark Rescue “rescues” puppies from puppy mills is false, as no puppies are ever rescued from puppy mills except when raided by law enforcement, who do not then sell the puppies to pet stores. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)