Puppy mill puppies?

“Virtually 100% of the sweet puppies we see in fancy store windows were born in anything-but-fancy puppy mills”

That’s what the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  tells us.  We’re told the same thing by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and every single organization involved with animal advocacy.  Can this many reputable organizations be wrong?  Of course not.  So why are there so many puppy mills and pet stores still in business?  Because it’s not against the law

The USDA regulates “commercial breeders” with minimum standards that could hardly be called humane.  That’s why it’s so important that the laws be changed.  House Bill 2525 and other new legislation around the country are a start.  But for the moment, the fact is that commercial breeders housing dogs in conditions that would be considered abhorrent to any sane person can pass USDA inspections.  It seems to us that the most reliable way to identify a puppy mill is to have someone who isn’t a USDA inspector visit the property. 

The HSUS has listed breeders that have been associated with the Petland Corporation and failed USDA inspections.  The names of the breeders and the inspection reports are listed on the HSUS puppy mill website.

Below are links to more evidence that many Petland stores around the US do deal with what most people would call puppy mills.  We’ve tried to place related news items in chronological order.

  • May 2010:  An Animal Planet Investigates special on puppy mills exposes the commercial breeders providing puppies to Petland stores around the country.
  • October 2009:  The HSUS has listed some breeders who have provided pups to Petland stores around the country.  The list is divided into states.  Pennsylvania information can be read here.
  • March 21, 2009:  Prompted by the recent lawsuit placed against Petland, more and more people are wondering if animals they purchased at stores around the country were ill because they were bred at puppy mills.  Such stories have been reported in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.  Read about similar stories on the HSUS website.
  • March 17, 2009:  Consumers have filed a federal lawsuit against Petland, claiming that the company sold sickly puppies to unsuspecting customers.  Several of the plaintiffs claim that dogs they purchased from Petland stores have congenital defects that will require lifelong treatment, and these health problems were concealed by Petland staff.  An investigation by the HSUS last year showed that tens of thousands of puppies sold by Petland stores around the US originated from substandard commercial breeding operations, commonly known as puppy mills.  Poor living conditions and inbreeding in puppy mills are the cause of many genetic problems found in puppies bred in these facilities.  Read about the lawsuit and the complete claim on the HSUS website.
  • November 20, 2008:  HSUS releases video evidence and tells us that the Petland Corporation does support puppy mills!!  They tracked nearly 17,000 puppies around the US and found that they were all delivered to Petland stores around the country.  Watch the video at the HSUS website and read the story.  The HSUS warns consumers against buying a puppy at Petland in a comprehensive story on consumeraffairs.com.
  • Tom Steffensmeier in Iowa is an “elite breeder” according to an Austin Petland representative.  This link leads to a whole page of commercial breeders with USDA violations cited against them.  Scroll down the page to read Mr Steffensmeier’s inspection violations.
  • This page on petstorecruelty.org leads to complaints about puppy mill pups being sold at Petland stores in Sarasota, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; Kennesaw, Georgia; Joliet, Illinois and Henderson, Nevada (scroll down the page until you find these entries). 
  • This page on petstorecruelty.org leads to complaints about puppy mill pups being sold at Petland stores in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • A former Petland employee recounts her observations and admits that the puppies came from puppy mills.
  • The organization In Defense of Animals has documented shipments of puppies from puppy mills to Petland stores around the country. 
  • August 2008:  Kathy Bach owner of the Pick of the Litter and Puppys on Wheels breeding kennels, is being charged with several counts of animal cruelty, torture and practicing veterinary medicine without a license (August).  Her kennels have over 900 dogs.  She is known to sell her dogs through several online sites and to many stores, including Petlands in Rockford, IL and Medina, OH.

We will update this page as we find more information.

(Last updated November 2009)

15 responses

18 02 2009
Michelle G

I bought my baby, Holly a Huskimo from Puppies on Wheels. I wanted to find out more infomation on Her from the woman who sold her to me. I found out that Kathy was being investigated for animal crulty. I am completly discusted to find not only were my mother and I lied to about what kind of breeder she was but how poor the living conditions were that my puppy’s family and other canine companions are living in. I hope and pray that the HSUS will save the rest of the dog’s and puppies that are stuck suffering in Kathys puppy mill. That is still running from what I hear. Yet Puppies on Wheels web site is shut down. She is still breeding dogs in unhealthy living condions. I am grateful that my Holly is healthy, sweet and loveable. and soon this April will celibrate her 1st bithday. I just want to add this last note. I got Holly because I wanted a minni Husky. The face of a husky dog remided me of my Taffy dog that I grew up with. She was a golden retrever yellow lab mix and my parents got her at the shelter when she was 1 year old. I called every shelter in the area and none had a minni Husky. My mother found Puppies on Wheels online and Kathy told her my pup was a minni husky. So I gave my mom the $475 to buy her. She meet up with Kathys husband in a town 30 mins away. Were she reseved my Holly with out seeing the living conditions of the other dogs. This is how we are mislead and lied to. As to if my Holly will have any perminite health condions I don’t know. But I Promised my baby (Holly) that I will never abandon her, that she is mine and until her last breath I will do my best to give her a happy and loving home.

Thank you for fighting this unhuman crulty to our loving four pawed friends who only live to love us! As they diserve all the love in return.

Please help my puppy’s parents and canine friends that are still being abused by Kathy and her husband at Puppies On Wheels!

18 02 2009
pghpetlandprotest

Thanks for your comments Michelle. Good luck with your dog; I hope she is one of the lucky ones without health problems for her life. Let’s hope that that particular “breeder” will be put out of business for good.

For anyone else who is looking for a special breed of puppy – like Michelle, you might find that your local shelters don’t have the breed that you’re looking for. Don’t forget to search Petfinder and look for breed rescue organizations in the area. I believe the Pedigree food website also has a search engine for adoptable dogs.

A reputable breeder will never send their puppies to a pet store. Nor will they sell puppies online. A reputable breeder will also allow you to visit their home and the parents of the puppies. Never buy a dog from someone who wants to meet you somewhere other than their own home. That’s a sure sign that something untoward is going on.

6 04 2009
Fred

we tried to find a reputable breeder to get our Labrador puppy from. We avoided pet stores and went to a local kennel and asked all the right questions(we thought) The Kennel was clean and the people were nice to their animals. When we got our dog’s papers and the breeder was Kathy Bauch we didn’t think anything of it until we saw the ITEAM news story her puppy Mill in MN. Please help save our dogs parents from this cruel place. I will help. Let me know what I can do?

6 04 2009
pghpetlandprotest

Hi Fred, it’s so frustrating that even when we think we’re doing the right thing, we can’t get away from insidious puppy mills.

My understanding is that Kathy Bauch was banned from breeding. We will help you find the right people to whom to report this kennel and Kathy.

9 07 2009
Misty

I am writing to say that I am a past employee for Kathy Bauck, not that I am proud of that but I know that I gave each puppy that I handled and worked with all the love and care that it deserved. I am also greatful at the same time because I saved my baby Rouffiss, a bassett hound, from that horrible place that she called a “gods place”. And if that is what she calles that I would like to know what hell is like then! I was only able to handle the working conditions for a month and a half due to sickness caused from the chemicals that we were told to clean the barns and pens with. I am no way even proud of the fact that I worked there but I do know that she needs to be treated the ways that she treats those poor animals, and see how she likes it!

9 07 2009
pghpetlandprotest

Thank you for your comments Misty. It must be hard for you to admit that you worked for Kathy Bauck. We’re so pleased that you were able to rescue Rouffiss. We totally agree that Kathy deserves to be punished severely for what she did to those poor animals.

30 12 2009
Joanie

I purchased a puppy from Laughlin Kennel, in Oxford MA, that must have got our Labradoodle from Kathy Bauch, how sad to read this, my dog is almost 5 now, I wish I knew what happened to her parents, Peanut Cluster and Julie Marie, and also, all the other innocent pets. Anyone know?

30 12 2009
pghpetlandprotest

Joanie, we’ve not been able to find information about locating rescued these dogs (we tried to find some information for Fred, who sent a message previously). Our advice is to contact those who have more experience with these matters than us. The people at the North Penn Puppy Mill Watch (http://www.nppmwatch.com/) and Pet Store Cruelty (http://www.petstorecruelty.org/) might be able to help you if you contact them through their websites. Good luck.

9 02 2010
rose gauthier

IT SHOWED HER IN A VIDEO PULLING BABY PUPPIES BY ONE LEG AND HANDING THEM TO SOMEONE BY ONE LEG.IT ALSO SHOWED
PUPPIES WITH THEIR LITTLE FEET FALLING THROUGH BOTTOM WIRE
CAGES.SHE ALSO DOES VET WORK HAS NO LICENCE TO.SHE HAS TO BESHUT DOWN NOW .WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE PLACE THAT LETS HER KEEP HER LICENCE?THEY BETTER DO THEIR JOB AND PULL THIS CRAZY BITCHS LICENCE.

27 07 2010
keilor

from petland.. do u have uhm.. proof??? where idt the video, woman!!?

27 07 2010
keilor

i mean is* ??

9 11 2010
rose

hay dumb woman the video was on the internet. you want puppies from her to sell thats why your mad at my comments.she is a cruel woman

23 08 2010
Mary Scott

Beware out there. Puppy mills are closing by the dozens in PA due to new laws in Oct. 2010. On Sunday I purchased a Scottie puppy supposedly from a reputable breeder in New Boston NH (Gate Keeper Kennel). Our puppy actually came from a “commercial breeder” in PA aka puppy mill run by the Nolt family. Apparently after numerous phone calls on my part I found out they are euphanizing “older dogs” and shipping others all over the country to private breeders AND sending a large number of them to auctions in Ohio. I am not speaking out of character – go on line. It is there in black and white. If you still don’t believe me CALL one of them. They absolutely WILL NOT talk to you. I started calling because I wanted to know the background health of his parents. You would have thought I was the FBI tracking down drug dealers. Absolutely horrible in PA right now. I have also contacted the humane society in PA, CNN and our AGs office in Concord NH. I am only one person but perhaps I can make a small difference in notifying people that puppy mill puppies just aren’t sold in pet stores!!!! The economy is tough people and this is just another sign of the times.

30 03 2011
Soraya Meyers

I am thinking of buying puppy from Steve Stoltzfus, Honey Brook, PA- do you know if he has ever been charged with having a puppy mill or animal cruelty?
Thanks

29 04 2011

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