Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance


Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance
5154 Kanan Rd
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Date and time of investigation: 01/24/16; 10:34

Number of dogs at the time of investigation: 4

Breeds: Yorkshire Terriers and Yorkshire Terrier mixes.

I first showed up on January 23, 2016 and was told I need to make an appointment. I made an appointment later that day to come on January 24, 2016 at 10:30 am. An employee said that the dogs are not kept at the store but at nearby “nursery,” and they would bring up to four dogs from the nursery for me to see. I arrived for my 10:30 am appointment and was let in by an African-American girl named Adriana.

The four dogs were in separate crates/cages. Although I had requested to see a rescue dog, the four dogs were only puppies for sale. There was no identifying information on the cages: no date of birth, no breed, no location. I asked for the location of the nursery. Adriana said it was 10 minutes away in Agoura Hills. She said all the dogs on the website are at the nursery.

I spent a while playing with the dogs. Adriana also said there was a dog for adoption and showed me a photo of this dog on the computer. Behind the counter, the store had the legally required signs about information about the source of the dogs and pedigree information being available. I asked what would happen if I adopted the dog, and the dog had some health issues. She said that I wouldn’t get the adoption fee/donation back, and it “would just go into the business,” but I could return the dog back. Adriana also mentioned that there might be two additional rescues available, Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier mixes (it wasn’t clear whether both rescues were the same mixed breed or the two separate rescues were different breeds).

I asked about the relationship between Urban Puppies and It’s a Dog’s Chance. Adriana said that they are “totally separate” and run by “completely separate people.” She said that It’s a Dog’s Chance is a new rescue organization, started last year, for which Urban Puppies donates space. She said that It’s a Dog’s Chance is usually at Urban Puppies during the week and by request. I asked about the sources of the rescue dogs. Adriana said that It’s a Dog’s Chance obtains rescue dogs two ways: owner surrenders and from a rescue “up north.” I asked what “up north” meant. She said that the source is “AG Dog Rescue” in Bakersfield. A Google search of AG Dog Rescue, Bakersfield and AG Rescue comes up empty. During a CAPS investigation in November 2015, the manager said that “up north” meant Northern California. Bakersfield is not in Northern California.

I then asked about seeing vaccines and breeding info, pointing out the signs saying that that information is available. Adriana said that information is “catered to the puppy you’re going to buy.” She told me that the puppies come from a few different breeders. I asked for the name/location to make sure they’re not coming from the Midwest. Adriana said that most of the breeders are from Tehachapi, Littlerock, and Bakersfield in California. I asked for a name or other information. She said that the owner was the only person in contact with breeders, who want their privacy.

When I said I wanted to know the breeders to help to ensure the dogs are healthy, she said that the store offers health checks and state-required guarantees but can only provide breeders’ first names. I then mentioned that state law also says I have the right to find out breeder information before I purchase. Adriana said she wouldn’t be able to get me that information. I asked if I should talk to the owner, Jenna, but Adriana informed me that Jenna probably wouldn’t give out that information either. I asked if Adriana knows the breeder information herself. She didn’t give me a straight answer but said that they “only have their [breeders’] first name” and that breeders only speak Korean. She said most (not all) of their breeders are Korean. When I pushed a little harder, she said that there’s no breeder information at the store, only vaccination history, birth date, and price, and that breeder information is at the nursery.

When I then asked to view the vaccine information for two of the dogs, she went into the back room and brought out two dogs’ vaccine records written down on a piece of paper, saying that when I purchase the dog, I would get the actual vaccine records. I asked to see an official vaccine record. She said that there isn’t one in the store “that she can think of.” She said that an official schedule is made the day someone purchases a dog. I asked where the ones she wrote down are from, and she said they have a whole vaccine schedule. I did not inquire further and then left.

Update: CAPS provided investigatory evidence to the California Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts Section, which opened an investigation. They were particularly concerned about Lee raising money online to open a retail adoption center that was in fact a pet shop, the raising of funds for veterinary care for a puppy that she claimed was “adopted out” as a rescue and returned but was actually a pet shop dog, and the possible comingling of assets between the pet shop and the supposed rescue. The rescue her store claimed to use didn’t exist, and the dogs that were available for adoption were Ms. Lee’s own dog and dogs from breeders from whom she was probably buying puppies. We believe the Attorney General shut down her operation because her store closed not long after their investigation, and she moved away.




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