Breeder: Young Van Roekel
Kennel Name: Texas Sugar Puppies
Address: 389 Beaver Rd
City, State, Zip: Elgin, TX 78621
USDA License: None found
Texas License: 219
Date and time of CAPS Investigation: 02/03/21, 0907
Weather at time of investigation: 50°F and sunny
Approximate number of dogs and puppies observed at time of investigation: 80 dogs
Breeds: Miniature Poodles, Bichon Frises, Pomeranians, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese
The kennel consisted of a building with indoor/outdoor concrete runs on the east and west sides, each run about five feet long and three feet wide. There were about 16 runs per side, with two to three dogs of various breeds visible in each run. Each run had galvanized wire runs, which had rust and a dirty build-up on their lower surfaces near the metal building walls (91.100 (3) (C) Cleaning) (91.100 (3) (B) Maintenance and replacement of surfaces), and metal doggie-doors allowing access to the indoor portions. The doors had a brown dirty build-up on their outer surfaces (91.100 (3) (C) Cleaning), and the concrete floorings had about four days of feces and urine in in them (91.100 (3) (C) Cleaning). Many dogs had wet fur, and white dogs had their fur stained brown and yellow in various places (91.111 Standards of Care-Grooming).
There were several dog pens on the western side of the building, where I saw a long-haired Bichon with heavy mats covering the animal, including two mats that were brown and about four inches long hanging from the animal’s face (91.111 Standards of Care-Grooming).
A Bichon with brown stains on the animal’s underside, legs, and face rubbed against the northern wire wall and paced in circles for over a minute before standing near two other dogs at the western side of the pen against the wall of the building. Such behavior comes from a lack of enrichment and exercise (91.106 Standards of Care-Exercise for Dogs). Like in other pens, laying against the wall of the building was the only area the dogs could be in an outdoor pen without laying in their own feces.
Northwest of the kennel was a small building with two dirt runs east of it, each about 12 feet long and six feet wide. The building had doggie-doors to access the inside of the barn. The southernmost run had a tree. The German Shepherd inside that pen was running in a foot-deep circular path in the dirt while barking. The other German Shepherd ran back and forth against the fencing and occationally stopped to look at me. The dog in the southern pen simply ran in continuous circles and barked. Such behavior is indicative of lack of enrichment and exercise (91.106 Standards of Care-Exercise for Dogs).
I spoke to a man at the property (Caucasian male, 57 years old, 6’6″, 180 lbs., with short, thinning brown hair, a short brown and grey moustache and beard, and glasses) who told me his wife runs the kennel and sells puppies for between $300 and $2,500 each.
This breeder is an internet seller. She sells on PuppyFind.com under the name Young Van Roekel and on her website, https://www.texassugarpuppies.com/ (formerly Rainbow Puppies). The website claims “All puppies on this site are born and raised in our home.” It also states, “We purchased 24 acres just so we would have enough room for my passion; my dogs.” Also, the website only shows six sires and seven dams, all of which are clean, groomed, and staged indoors for their photos. These claims make it appear as though Texas Sugar Babies is a facility with only 13 dogs that run on acres of land and live in a person’s home. These claims are all lies.
The Animal Welfare Act sets general standards for humane care and treatment of animals who are sold sight unseen (internet sales). Breeders – those with at least five breeding females – who are selling online must have a federal license (2.1 (a) Requirements and application).
Until a few years ago, Van Roekel ran a pet shop called Puppy Dog Town, https://www.facebook.com/Puppy-Dog-Town-479744192128283/, which she stocked with puppies she had bred, sold other animals, and offered dog grooming. The pet shop had scathing reviews from customers, but there is also a current review from a Massachusetts customer who purchased a very sick puppy from Van Roekel online.