The Puppy Store
1302 Redwood Rd
Saratoga Springs, UT 84045
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 8/27/19; 1433
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 11
Puppies were kept in a pen and boxed enclosures in a wall. The pen was a raised, open-topped enclosure with glass walls and solid flooring covered in shredded paper. The boxed enclosures, being seven total, had solid walls and shredded paper-covered floorings, and the sides faces customers being glass walls for customers to see in. Not all enclosures were occupied, and those that were held one to two puppies each.
An employee (Caucasian female, about 30 years old, 5’7″, 115 lbs., with long hair dyed blonde) told me all of the store’s puppies are from breeders, while another employee (Caucasian female, about 25 years old, 5’4″, 120 lbs., with long brown hair) told me the store does get rescue puppies as well as puppies from breeders. The second employee claimed the rescue puppies don’t come from breeders, are generally the same age as puppies from breeders because the store goes out of their way to select puppies of that age, and that while veterinary information on rescue puppies will be available, there will be no information about where the puppies originally came from.
However, the employee claimed the puppies come from Pet Connect Rescue in Missouri, mentioning there’s multiple Pet Connects, but the one in MO is the specific one the store uses. She said Pet Connect gets puppies from “humane societies,” and the puppies end up in CA stores that are part of the The Puppy Store company, and can then be transferred to UT upon customer request.
The employee also told me that breeders are all USDA-licensed. When I asked if someone from the store visits breeders, she said nobody from the store does, but said “we have people who do,” and clarified the people are with various places, such as AKC or “all the companies” who have regulations on breeders. When I asked if the store’s breeders keep dogs in cages, she told me she was “pretty sure they’re in kennels,” and that “you can tell” from how the puppies act that many of them were kept in homes. She didn’t know if breeders skip heat cycles, but claimed AKC said that breeders can produce no more than three litters per female, and that a “a lot of breeders” spay females after “a couple years.”
I asked if I could get breeder info on some puppies to look up the breeders myself, and she refused. She said she had been at the store for 1.5 years, and company policy is to not give out breeder info until the time of purchase. Since I mentioned I had a girlfriend, she said that if I came back with my girlfriend she would show me breeder info before a purchase but again made it clear to me when I asked that the company policy is to normally give out breeder info only at the time of purchase and not before.
Breeder and Broker info:
Pet Connect Rescue, Joplin, MO
Pet Connect Rescue is one of two fraudulent rescues that provides mill-bred puppies to David Salinas’ pet shops in California, Utah and Nevada. Ray and Alysia Rothman of Neosho, MO, started the rescue to circumvent The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act in California. The law, which went into effect on 1/1/19, prohibits the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits, unless they are from legitimate 501(c)(3) shelters or rescue organizations. Ray Rothman is a sales manager for The Hunte Corporation in Goodman, MO (dba Choice Puppies), one of the largest USDA-licensed dog brokers in the country. CAPS worked undercover at Hunte in 2004 for six months and has investigated a number of their breeders, all of which are puppy mills. The Rothmans also owned Puppy Kisses in Danbury, CT from which they were evicted for not paying rent. They also were not paying their employees, who resorted to selling puppies for $100 and keeping the money.
Evidence contradicting statements made by employees:
The brown-haired employee’s claim that the AKC limits their breeders to three litters per female is false. The AKC has no such regulation. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that “you can tell” if a puppy was raised in a home based on how the puppy acts is false. CAPS has only seen some puppies part of one kennel routinely raised in the breeders’ house, and even then one of the puppies was dying at the time of investigation (Wanda’s Lil’ Stars investigated by CAPS 7/11/18). Of the hundreds of other USDA-licensed puppy mills CAPS has investigated, all others raise puppies in whelping barns and not in their homes. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that “a lot of breeders” spay females after a couple years is false. Of the hundreds of USDA-licensed breeders CAPS has investigated, none have spayed their females after two years. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1)
The employee’s claim that Pet Connect Rescue gets puppies from humane societies is false, as puppies that are eight weeks of age are extraordinarily rarely in humane societies, much less in the quantities needed to supply pet stores. CSPA 13-14-4 (2)(b); R152-11 B(1).
Note: David Salinas purchased the Puppy Barn locations in Vineyard and Saratoga Springs from Matt Mulligan and reopened them as The Puppy Store