The Facts: Puppies of Westport and other Ct. Pet Stores Who Support Puppy Mills
Once you've read these USDA inspection reports, ask yourself, "How do these stores get away with saying they don't use puppy mills?"
These breeder/brokers were used in 2008 and 2009 by The Puppy Center in West Hartford AND Puppies of Westport:
Mike and Melanie Moore - Lamar, MO - USDA #43A2223
Mid-America Pet Broker - Neosho, MO - USDA #43B3634
Robert and Darlene Lourance - Duncan, OK - USDA #73B1812
Theresa Taylor, breeder and broker doing business as Taylor's Puppy Boutique in Harriet Arkansas, shipped 67 puppies to Puppies of Westport between 8/07-6/08. Below are Taylor's USDA violations and animal inventory count (258 adults, 127 puppies). Was the female Yorkie with the dangling leg the mother of a puppy you bought? Do you want to continue supporting this kind of abuse? |
Notorious puppy mill owner Kathy Bauck of New York Mills, Minnesota, was convicted of animal cruelty and torture in March, 2009. The Puppy Center in Hartford, CT purchased 154 puppies from Bauck from 2/18/08 through 3/10/09. Bauck's USDA license was revoked in August, 2009, but due to legal loopholes, she, her husband Allan, and daughter Corinne can continue selling puppies to the public online through their business names (Puppys on Wheels and Pick of the Litter). We are horrified that The Puppy Center continued buying from this supplier when her criminal actions were well-publicized on national media.
Puppies of Westport claims that it does not buy puppies from the three largest brokers in the country, yet the breeders it uses sell their puppies to these very brokers (Hunte, Lambriar and Tracy's K&J Pets) as well as to Puppies of Westport.
Puppies of Westport claims it buys dogs from an exclusive set of breeders but those same breeders often supply stores all over the United States. These breeders alone are used by Puppies of Westport and All Pets Club, a pet store in Wallingford, Ct:
- Cheryl Diel
- Charles Feldmann
- Dorothy Fisher
- Kae Sherrill
- Rhonda Slagley
- Melva Verene Sparkman
Meanwhile, breeder Joyce Norton (Knox City, MO) sells her puppies to Puppies of Westport, Puppy Love in Danbury, Ct., and (now closed) Claws N Paws Plus in Norwalk, Ct.
Meet another breeder used by Puppies of Westport. The breeder, Liz Kuk, of Kuk’s 160 Kennel in Caulfield, Missouri, publicly claims to be “following all the laws and regulations.” The kennel sold two “designer” mixed breed puppies to Puppies of Westport in January 2007. She goes on to say, “I love and care for all my dogs and puppies.” USDA inspection reports tell a different story. She received her USDA license (43A4621) in 2005.
From Kuk's January, 2006 USDA inspection report:
The outdoor wire enclosure containing 2 Boxers has inadequate shelter, thus protection from the cold. The weather at this time of year (winter) is variably cold, windy and rainy. One shelter is a plastic barrel, but the dogs are taller than the barrel. The other is a transport carrier and it is not large enough for the dogs to turn about freely. There is old hay in the barrel, but only dried leaves in the transport carrier. There is no wind break at the entrance of either shelter. Shelters must provide adequate protection from the weather so the dogs will remain healthy.
From Kuk's March, 2007 USDA inspection report:
Outdoor facilities - The smaller gauge wire covering the welded panels has sharp points where the wire was cut. The dogs are in contact with the sharp points as they jump about and can become injured. For the health and well being of the dogs, the sharp points must be removed or covered. This affects 6 adult dogs.
Water receptacles in 5 of the outdoor enclosures have green residue on the inner surface. The residue may be harmful to the dogs. Water receptacles must be kept clean and sanitized. This affects 15 adult dogs.
Ms. Kuk’s animal inventory count for March, 2007 was 55 adult dogs and 40 puppies.
She “loves and cares” for all her dogs and puppies? You decide.
Sherrie Zuspann of Kirksville, Missouri.
Missouri State inspection 5/5/06 - During inspection the ammonia and odors were strong and the moisture level is high (humid). Need to provide some kind of ventilation for the health and well-being of 89 animals.
USDA inspection 6/1/07 - A 13 year old male yorkie had excessively matted hair over 1/2 of its body mass, with a portion of the matt appearing to have been torn from the opposite side of the body. The rest of the dog was hairless with no signs of regrowth. The tail and splotches of skin were red and inflammed looking. There were 3 lesions on the front legs of the dog in various stages of healing. It also appeared that the dog could not stand properly with excessively long toenails. The animal was alert but listless.
6/1/07 - The majority (80%) of the dogs (all long haired) had severely matted coats, some caked with fecal matter.
6/1/07 - The primary enclosures in the 2nd building had an excessive accumulation of dirt, hair and grime buildup. There were mouse droppings along the wash downs.
6/1/07 - Approximately 20 dogs (Maltese, Bichons and Shi Tzu’s) were in stacked wire enclosures. 1 Cocker Spaniel had 2-4 inches of head space. Needs a minimum of 6 inches.
Oklahoma dog brokers Robert and Darlene Lourance received the distinction of being number 4 in the TOP 10 WORST DOG BROKERS in Oklahoma, racking up 14 USDA violations between 2003 and 2006. Four of the violations were under the category of “cleaning, sanitization, housekeeping and pest control, affecting SIX HUNDRED and NINETY dogs.
Puppies of Westport recently began using the Lourances and received at least four puppies from them in April, 2008. The Lourances also ship dogs to Claws N Paws Plus in Norwalk, Ct.
Breeders Mike and Melanie Moore in Kansas shipped four pups to Puppies of Westport in March 2007. Another puppy was shipped by the Moores to Puppies of Westport in February 2008, according to publicly available documents.The facility run by the Moores has had repeat violations related to sanitary and safety conditions.
October 2006 inspection:
The Moore’s kennel inventory in March, 2007 was 180 dogs and 44 puppies.
Diane and Steve Swearingen – S & D Kennel – Aurora, MO USDA # 43A1747
The Swearingens sold 10 puppies (five different breeds) to Puppies of Westport between May, 2007-September, 2007.They also sell their puppies on www.nextdaypets.com and their own website, www.swearingensweeties.com . The Swearingens sold over 30 dogs and puppies at a November, 2007 Midwest dog auction.
We are waiting for current USDA inspection reports to arrive, but we found older inspection reports that were, in our opinion, quite disturbing in their length and the severity of their findings. The Swearingen’s November, 2006 dog inventory record showed 195 adult dogs and 170 puppies at their kennel.11/9/2004 USDA report:
In the kennel facility, there are two adult dogs that need to be evaluated by the attending veterinarian. One is a female cocker spaniel, whose mammary gland is enlarged, twisted and appeared red with irritation. The other was a male poodle. This animal had an abrasion on his right shoulder 1 1/2 by 2 inches in size. The dealer was not aware the animals had these conditions until they were identified during the inspection.
In building #4 of the kennel facility there was a medication bottle that expired March, 2004. The licensee stated that the contents of the bottle were not the medication that was actually in it.
During the inspection, the Records of Disposition (sale) were collected. The records for 118 dogs and puppies did not have an identification number on 60 separate disposition forms.
In the outdoor portion of the kennel facility there were 3 enclosures which needed additional shelter structures. Enclosure #26 contained 5 adult dogs with only one plastic barrel as a shelter. Enclosure #11 contained 3 adults and only one plastic barrel. Enclosure #48 contained four adults and only one plastic barrel.
Five outdoor enclosures had wires that were either broken or protruding into the animal areas.
One adult cocker spaniel had approximately 4 inches of head space. The interior height of all primary enclosures must be at least 6 inches higher than the head of the tallest dog.7/22/2003 USDA report:
There are 5 animals that require veterinary care:
Female beagle chewing on her right leg. There is a rash on the skin.
Female dachshund had been in a fight according to the license. The dog’s right ear was split, the left eye was missing and there were small wounds and hair loss on her torso.
Second female dachshund had been in a fight according to licensee. Her left ear had open wounds and a large amount of yellowish discharge from the inside. The right ear also had discharge and black goopy material in it. The dog was walking gingerly and was not very active.
Female French bulldog in the runs by the field fence had hair loss and discolored hair on her back. The licensee stated the animal had a salivary gland problem and she had been giving antibiotic injections to the animal.
Female yorkie had a goopy right eye with crusty green discharge. There was a patch of skin on her back that was red, flaky and crusted with hair loss.
The animals noted on the previous inspection look better, but there were no written records of treatment, diagnosis or daily observations.
There were several bottles of expired medications in the facility. There was an oral liquid antibiotic that expired in 2002 (the licensee stated that she had recently purchased this expired medication). There were injectible meds in a fridge in the old bulldog building (oxytocin and genticin) that were also expired. There were two old bottles of ivomec – one had expired and the other had no date visible on it.
The licensee purchased 10 dogs from 2 different people. The licensee did not have a USDA number on the acquisition records for either of these 2 dealers – she stated they were not licensed. She also had no vehicle license number and state and no drivers license number for these dealers.
Although the licensee had tin sections up on many of the pens, the narrow section of tin was not providing adequate shade for all animals in each pen. The weather has been extremely hot this past week.
In building #4, there were 3 dogs that did not have 6 inches of headroom. 2 dogs had less than 2 inches of headroom.
There were rodent droppings in the two feed storage areas. The licensee stated that she has bait down but this does not seem to be effective. There were an extremely large amount of flies throughout the facility. The licensee had bait jars out but they were all full. The licensee must thoroughly clean the spilled feed and old waste from the kennel grounds to reduce the population of flies that could carry disease to the animals.
Kae Sherrell – Montreal, Missouri. USDA #43B3564
Ms. Sherrell is a breeder/broker who sent 16 puppies to Puppies of Westport between November, 2006 and May, 2007.
A 2006 USDA inspection report of Sherrell's property states:
In the outdoor enclosures, it was observed that there was either too little, or no bedding in the dog houses. These dog houses need to be provided with bedding if the temperature falls below 50 degrees, and additional clean, dry bedding is required when the temperature is 35 degrees or lower. The temperature at the time of inspection was approximately 40 degrees and the temps the night before were down in the teens to lower 20’s. This item affects approximately 50 dogs.
A dog breeder/broker who hasn’t been meeting even the minimum requirements for cage space, Mid America Pet of Neosho, Missouri, shipped 7 puppies to Puppies of Westport on April 7, 2008. They also ship puppies to local pet stores including, The Dog House in Manchester, American Breeders in Danbury and the Puppy Center in West Hartford.USDA Inspection Reports:
Pre-License Inspection #1 on 10/22/07:
The animals in these cages do not have adequate space.
- There are German Shepherd puppies in 30x30 inch cages. These dogs are approximately 24 to 28 inches in length.
- There are Boxers of the same size in the same sized cages.
- There is 1 cage that has 2 Boxers in it and 2 cages that have 2 German Shepherd puppies in them.
The owner must provide adequate space for each animal. This is necessary to comply with space requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. The ownership/management of this facility must take aggressive action in maintaining suitable cage sizes for each animal. This affects 15 puppies.Pre-License Inspection #2 on 10/29/07:
License approved (USDA #43B3634)
Routine Inspection on 2/13/08:
There are 4 puppies in 2 cages – 2 Malamutes and 2 Boxers that are in 30x30 inch cages. These cages do not provide the proper space for these puppies. The owner must provide the appropriate space for each animal in the facility.
There were 45 puppies in the brokerage cages that did not have the necessary 6 inches of headroom. They were in cages that varied from 12-24 inches in height. The breeds varied from Chihuahuas to Malamutes. This includes 30 puppies in the isolation area. The licensee must provide cages that are suitable in height for the animals.
Flores Kennel (Tony & Jessica Flores), Lebanon, Missouri
– USDA #43B3474
Flores Kennel has been brokering puppies for Puppies of Westport since November, 2006. More than 125 puppies have been shipped to Puppies of Westport from Flores Kennel. As brokers, Flores has arrangements with a variety of Midwest breeders to pick up their pups and deliver them to the pet stores.
USDA Inspection Report for July 31, 2006:
The last recorded visit by the attending veterinarian was October, 2004. The licensee needs to ensure that the attending veterinarian makes the annual visit to the facility and that the visit is documented. This item affects approximately 136 dogs.
There were two dogs that were excessively matted. One was a Poodle and the other a Lhasa Apso and both dogs had matting over approximately 50 percent of their bodies. These dogs need to have these mats removed so as to prevent any skin problems from developing.
There was a male dog that was observed not to be using his left front paw. The paw appeared to be swollen and red between the toes. The wounded area was open and appeared moist and oozing. This dog needs to be assessed by the veterinarian to determine the diagnosis and prognosis of this dog’s paw.
Throughout the facility, it was observed that there was junk and trash. The items observed were wood fence pieces, plastic buckets, a broken trash can, an empty plastic bottle and other various items. The licensee does have rodents in one of the buildings and is currently putting out bar bait, but is still having a problem. The licensee needs to remove all of the junk and trash from around the facility to keep the area clean, to reduce and eliminate breeding and living areas for rodents and other pests and vermin, and to protect the health and well-being of the animals. This item affects approximately 136 dogs.
It appears that Flores Kennel was moved to a new location in the summer 0f 2007. The June, 2007 USDA inspection noted no non-compliant items at that time.
Allison Hedgpeth dba Lonewolf Kennel – Iberia, Missouri
Dog Auctions are held almost every weekend in the Midwest. These auctions must be seen to be believed. Several are shown on the following PetShopPuppies.org video, including excerpts from an auction held at Lonewolf Kennel in Iberia, MO on April 19, 2004
The owner of Lonewolf, Allison Hedgpeth, claimed on the auction flyer that she was retiring from the business, but four years later is still breeding and brokering. A total of 129 dogs and puppies were sold, 18 different breeds.
In addition to interior and exterior views, this video shows the heart-breaking auction of a Golden Retriever mom and her pups that day.
Hedgpeth sold 20 puppies to Puppies of Westport from between Dec. 2006 and Oct. 2007.
Another breeder used by Puppies of Westport is Betty Mings who had 13 of her bulldogs on sale at a Missouri dog auction on May 24, 2008.
A total of 169 bulldogs went to auction from various breeders. Ms. Mings’ dog #42, less than 3 years old, had already whelped 2 litters of puppies (last litter whelped 1/20/08) and would “possibly be bred by sale date”, according to auction sales literature. Puppies of Westport has regularly insisted it doesn't use breeders that breed every heat cycle. Clearly, this is not true, based on the auction information.
There were also two sibling puppy bulldogs on the block, from another breeder. Both AKC registered, both with grade 2 heart murmers.