Firework Safety

Fireworks can be incredibly stressful on our pets, as well as wildlife. The days leading up to and following the Fourth of July are very busy for shelters and rescues, as many pets become startled and lost due to the loud noises and flashing lights. With your help, we can keep the pets in your community safe and with their families this firework season. 

To keep your pets safe, follow our five simple steps outlined below! 

1. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and has a tag with your current contact information. If your pet ever becomes lost, a tag with your phone number is the quickest way to get them home as soon as they are found! Tags that have old phone numbers on it make it harder to get your beloved pet back home. 

2.  Update your pet’s microchip information. When a pet is found without tags, they are often scanned for a microchip. It is very important to keep this information up-to-date as well. If your pet is not microchipped, consider contacting your veterinarian to get this simple procedure done. Microchips help reunite families in the case that their collars are removed or the tag information is not up to date. 

3. Make sure your fence is secure. Keeping your pets inside during fireworks is very important in keeping them safe, but sometimes your neighbors will set them off unannounced. Make sure that your fence is secure and any escape routes are fixed. If your pet lives outside, please consider bringing them in to your home while fireworks are going off. 

4. Contact your veterinarian to refill anxiety medications. If your pet is in severe distress during storms and fireworks, have a conversation with your veterinarian about potential medications they can prescribe to help keep your pet calm. 

5. Get a quiet area prepared. Turn on the TV, get a comfy pet bed and help keep your best friend distracted during the height of the fireworks. 

If you find a lost pet, call the name on their tag and try to get them home. If the pet does not have a tag, contact your local shelter or veterinary clinic to get them scanned for a microchip. If you post a photo to social media, please make sure the family has proof the pet is theirs before reuniting them. 

 

We can’t do our important work without your help. 

We are a small nonprofit organization that makes big changes with very few resources. Our research is used by the leading animal welfare organizations across the country, because what we do is so unique and important.  To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

 

To make a donation or learn about other ways to support our efforts, click the image above

To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills !  

 

Covid-19 and Puppy Mills

Copyright Bailing Out Benji 2020 

All research was done by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such. 

Written by Mindi Callison, Founder and Executive Director of Bailing Out Benji. 

 

While the pandemic has shut most of the world down, it came as no surprise to us that the pet store and puppy mill industry was still booming. Pet stores were deemed essential and, because of that, puppy-selling stores found room to keep importing and selling puppies to the public. Due to the sheer number of stores that were still open, we filed FOIA requests with the Department of Agriculture in Iowa, Missouri and New York to see just how many puppies were being sold to states that had been hit the hardest by Covid-19. 

Keep in mind: we did a limited FOIA request on puppies coming into the hotbed states leaving only Iowa and Missouri. This is not the full amount of puppies leaving or entering these states during the pandemic and does not reflect all pet store imports across the country. 

The records we obtained show that 878 puppies left Missouri and 1103 puppies left Iowa during a six week period from the end of February to the end of March. This means that almost 2,000 puppies left MO and IA and traveled to pet stores in New York, Washington, New Jersey, Idaho and California. 

Picture taken by the Paramus Police Department after 67 puppy mill puppies were rescued from an unmanned van parked in freezing temperatures. 2016

Why is this concerning?

For weeks, government and health officials have been telling the public to limit their travel and only go out for essential items in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Businesses have been closed, families have been put out of work, all for the greater good to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Puppy mills, puppy brokers and pet stores have no issue disregarding public health in order for profit.

These weekly transports from the Midwest traveling to the hotspot states are not only non-essential, but they are dangerous. For puppies leaving Missouri and heading to New York, the transport drivers cross 7 states and drive for almost 20 hours (approx. 1,243 miles) . For puppies leaving Iowa and heading to Washington, the transport drivers cross through 5 states and drive for 26 hours (approx. 1,672 miles). These times do not include the drivers stopping for gas, food, to sleep or to make stops at puppy stores along the way. This reckless behavior puts countless people at risk from the citizens they encounter on the way, to the employees and customers of these puppy-selling stores. It is also extremely important to note that Midwest states like Iowa and Missouri are behind the slope of the Covid-19 crisis, meaning the states have not yet reached their peak and cases are climbing each day. The transport companies and puppy mills are putting Midwest citizens at a higher risk for contracting the disease by bringing it back from these hotbed states.

Puppies for sale in a pet store

New York State

New York has been the hardest hit area for Covid-19 in the United States, with 319,000 positive cases and nearly 20,000 deaths. This did not prevent nearly 50 New York puppy-selling stores from importing 1,121 puppies from Iowa and Missouri during the peak coronavirus times. These weekly transports brought on average 186 puppies to all of these stores. Our volunteer team filed complaints with the New York Attorney General and the Governor of New York State and while pet sales are not considered essential, there is no order preventing these stores from importing from Midwest states. To view our breakdown of NY stores and the puppy mills they buy from, click here

Washington State

Washington State had the first known case of the coronavirus in the United States and citizens have been on strict orders to stay at home to prevent the spread. Even though the state has over 15,462 confirmed cases and 841 deaths, the puppy-selling stores still chose to keep their doors open and import 433 puppies from Iowa and Missouri. Our volunteers filed complaints with the Washington State Auditor who deemed puppy-sales nonessential and encouraged us to file complaints with the local agencies. Both the Pierce County Animal Control and the Olympia Police Department agreed with the Auditor and encouraged the two pet stores to stop selling puppies. The stores have defied those orders and are continuing to do business as usual. Since being ordered to close, Puppyland and Puppyworld have imported 105 additional puppies into their stores. To view our research on Washington pet stores and the puppy mills they buy from, click here.

New Jersey

New Jersey is another hotbed state for the coronavirus, with positive cases totaling 128,000 so far and 7,910 deaths. These high numbers are not enough to stop 17 pet stores in the state of New Jersey from importing 227 puppies from Iowa and Missouri in the month of March. We filed complaints with the New Jersey Attorney General regarding these dangerous cross-country transports but there is no order deeming this practice as nonessential. To view our research on the New Jersey pet stores that source puppies from puppy mills, click here

California

California citizens have been on “safe at home” orders for several weeks now, because their positive cases have reached over 55,000. Many businesses were ordered to close in order to protect Californians, but the puppy-selling stores chose not to comply. Which isn’t surprising to us because many of these stores have been involved in the puppy-laundering scheme wherein they break the state law by selling puppy mill puppies under the guise of “rescue”. Our research into these Covid-19 transports proved very interesting for us. Not only are the stores putting themselves and their customers in danger by importing almost 100 puppies and having transport companies drive 26 hours through 7 states, but they are buying directly from puppy mills, which is against state law. Our volunteers filed complaints with the California Governor’s office who deemed puppy sales as nonessential and ordered those businesses to close! Because we have solid proof these stores are breaking California State law, we are also working on enforcement of the law and making sure these stores are properly fined.

Idaho

Outside of the FOIA request we filed, we also received records on one pet store in the state of Idaho. Our records show that the pet store in Meridian imported 131 puppies during the pandemic and all of those puppies came from JAKS puppies, the puppy broker that was investigated for charity fraud by the state of Iowa. While their fake rescues were ordered to close down and were fined, JAKS is operating as usual and is still shipping puppies all over the country during the pandemic.

The minimum cage requirements of puppies or dogs in USDA facilities is 6 inches around the body. This image is from the USDA site.

The Puppy Mills

On top of tracking which pet stores the puppies are going to, we keep diligent records on which breeders the dogs came from. Again, it was no surprise to us that some of the worst puppy mills in the nation were the facilities who were sending puppies to those hard-hit states. More than 100 facilities in Iowa and Missouri sent puppies to the states mentioned above. Many of them have hundreds of adult breeding dogs and a history of violations. 

Tiffanie’s LLC, a dog broker out of Frankford, Missouri, was one of those sending facilities. Owner Tiffanie Kurz was named a Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill in 2019 after a state inspector found that 35 puppies at her facility had died of Parvo in a six month period. Tiffanie’s LLC supplies puppies to pet stores in at least 11 different states, including almost 500 puppies to stores in the states mentioned above during the height of the coronavirus. 

JAKS Puppies, is a 2019 Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill and they were recently investigated and sued by the Iowa Attorney General. JAKS sent upwards of 600 puppies to pet stores in states hit hard with the coronavirus. This puppy broker also sells to pet stores in at least 12 states. 

The Transport Companies

The biggest focus of this piece is that these cross-country transports are not only nonessential, but they are putting countless people in danger because of the coronavirus. Some might argue that the transport companies have protocols they follow regarding cleanliness and sanitation, but history proves that isn’t the case. Not only have many of these puppy mill transport companies made the news because of their lack of care for the puppies in-transit, but they have also been in trouble with the USDA and have been named Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills. 

Hakuna Matata Transports out of New Sharon, Iowa is owned and operated by notorious puppy mill owner Debra Pratt. Pratt had her USDA breeding license revoked after 19 pages of violations. After that, she auctioned off more than 200 dogs, many of whom tested positive for the very contagious disease, brucellosis. Shortly after, the USDA allowed Pratt to start a transport company and house puppies at her facility. Hakuna Matata Transports makes weekly trips to deliver puppies to these hotbed states at the height of the coronavirus. 

Puppy Travelers, owned by Kallie and Josh Bateman, is another transport company that has been in hot water because of their transport practices. In 2018, 24 puppies had to be rescued from their transport vehicle after investigators found them in small cages covered in urine and feces. They were headed to Petland stores in Florida. Puppy Travelers operates under at least 11 different company names and were listed as a Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill in 2018. While they supply puppies to pet stores in 11 states that we have record of, they are making weekly transports to states hit hardest by the coronavirus. 

The USDA

On March 27, 2020 the USDA sent out an email to their stakeholders, stating that they would no longer being holding normal inspections and licensed facilities across the country due to the coronavirus. The only way they would inspect a facility is due to a “serious animal welfare concern.” Our volunteers emailed the USDA to see if they were going to temporarily stop cross-country companion animal transports for the same reason, and we did not receive a response.

In Closing

Our volunteers not only worked tirelessly to comb through these records so we can share the data with you, but we also filed numerous complaints across the country to try and stop these practices. In the state of Colorado, for example, there was an order in place that stopped all importation of companion animals. While rescues and shelters followed the order, almost every Colorado puppy-selling still imported puppies from other states. All of the stores were reported to local agencies and were ordered to stop importing puppies. Note: the import order and since been lifted. Pet stores in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Texas and other states are all still importing and selling puppies to the public– even during this pandemic.

It isn’t a surprise to us that these businesses do not care about the health or well-being of their customers or employees during a pandemic. Many of these puppy-selling stores have been linked to the zoonotic disease, Campylobacter, which passes from puppies to humans. Campylobacter has caused hospitalization in some people and prompted a CDC investigationinto the stores where numerous people tested positive for the disease and became ill. These CDC investigations are still ongoing, as more customers and employees are coming forward after becoming infected with the disease. 

At this time, there is no way of tracking how many people have or will contract the coronavirus due to coming in contact with these puppy-selling stores or the transport companies involved. 

In order to help the dogs trapped in puppy mills, we have to keep educating consumers on where to humanely acquire pets. Buying through a pet store or an online website that ships to you is the quickest way to support this cruel industry.  Learn more about puppy mills and what we are doing to fight and expose them here

Written by Mindi Callison, Founder and Executive Director of Bailing Out Benji. 

Copyright Bailing Out Benji 2020 

All research was done by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such. 

Bailing out Benji is a small nonprofit organization that makes big changes with very few resources. Our research is used by the leading animal welfare organizations across the country, because what we do is so unique and important.  To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

To make a donation or learn about other ways to support our efforts, click the image above

For more information or media requests, please fill out the form below: 

 
To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

 

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills 

 

Bailing Out Benji: 2019 in Review

2019 has been an amazing year! Thanks in large part to your support, we have been able to celebrate many successes for the dogs trapped in puppy mills across the country. We wanted to highlight as many of those successes with you as we look ahead at 2020! 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 

 

2019 “Person to Watch”In January of this year, our founder was named one of the Des Moines Register’s  “2019 People to Watch”  because of her leadership with Bailing Out Benji. Mindi Callison founded BOB when she was 21 years old in Ames, Iowa and in the last few years has expanded to 23 states in the US. Our volunteers work tirelessly across the country to educate about the cruel puppy mill industry and create change in their communities for the dogs still trapped. 

Ag Gag Law Struck Down in Iowa– We have been involved in a lawsuit against the state of Iowa since 2017 in order to overturn the Ag Gag law because it infringes on our first amendment right. We were thrilled when we won the suit in January of this year, however the state of Iowa rushed to pass a nearly identical law in order to give special protection the animal production industry. Alongside the ACLU and ALDF, as well as other plaintiffs, we filed a second lawsuit against Ag Gag 2.0 and were thrilled when the Iowa courts announced that Ag Gag laws couldn’t be enforced while the lawsuits are ongoing. This is a huge win for the animal in Iowa, who will no longer be invisible within puppy mills and other animal agricultural facilities.

 

 

Research Uncovered Sham Rescues; Results in Investigations-  As you know, Bailing Out Benji focuses heavily on researching the puppy mill industry in ways that set us apart from other advocacy organizations. We track CVIs from puppy mills and link them to the pet stores they are selling too. Through this research we have been able to expose several puppy mills-turned-rescue : Hobo K9 Rescue, Rescue Pets Iowa , Pet Connect RescueThese businesses exist to launder puppies from puppy mills through a shell “rescue” group, in order for those puppies to be sold in cities and states where laws prevent commercially bred puppies from being sold. Again, we partnered with the ALDF and sued a chain of pet stores and the fake rescues they are using. Because of our lawsuit, the chain of California stores have closed down (as have several others), Rescue Pets Iowa has closed and we have assisted the Iowa Attorney General in their investigation into the fake Iowa rescues for charity fraud. Our research has created a domino effect of awareness and activism across the country and we will be focusing on this issue a lot in 2020. 

 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 

Bailing Out Benji Featured on Animal Planet- This year we were honored to, again, partner with Panda Paws Rescue to raise awareness about the puppy mill industry on their Animal Planet TV show “Amanda to the Rescue” . In both Season 1 and Season 2 we were able to showcase midwest puppy mill survivors and educate a worldwide audience about this cruel industry. 

 

Millions of People Learned About Puppy Mills- None of this would be possible without the countless hours our volunteers have put in across the country. By hosting over 350 educational events, hundreds of pet store protests and almost 100 educational seminars, our small-but-mighty nonprofit has educated millions of people and gave them the tools they need to fight puppy mills in their own community. We are the country’s leading grassroots, nonprofit organization that is focused solely on fighting the puppy mill industry and our work is held in high regard and is used by other animal welfare nonprofits. 

 

 

First-Ever Nationwide Movie Theater Campaign- At the end of every year we turn our attention to creating public service announcements that will reach the puppy-buying public ahead of the Holiday shopping season. This year we took our animated PSA and turned it into a movie theater commercial. With the help of area organizations such as Safe Pets for Joliet, Humane Naperville, Virginia Pawsitivaty and Spay/Neuter Arkansas, we were able to educate close to 2 million people with our 21 theater locations (and hundreds of screens) as well as 11 billboards. 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 

 

Animated PSA Wins National Award- In early 2019 we released our animated PSA in both English and Spanish. Little did we know that the PSA would be nominated and selected to win  the 2019 “Professional Choice Award” by the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and Hill’s Pet Nutrition for our animated PSA! It is an amazing honor that is given to one PSA each year. 

 

 

More Retail Bans Passed- 2019 was another huge year for the puppy mill dogs and the advocates who fight for them. Over 45 humane ordinances have been passed this year which prevent pet stores from being able to sell commercially bred puppies and kittens. Our volunteers and our research have been crucial in passing many of these bans. Our pet store research and puppy mill search engine have helped countless advocates and citizens get physical proof on the puppy mill industry to use in their own communities. 

 

In The News- Our volunteer teams have been working hard all over the country to create big change for the puppy mill dogs. Below you will find a few headlines that you may have missed! 

Nebraska Dog Breeders are on the Decline

Rock Island to Block Retail Puppy Mill Puppies

Holliston Pet Shop Closes Due to Puppy Mill Allegations

Davenport Group Protests Pet Stores

Iowa Department of Agriculture Seeks New Regulations

Local Organization Helps Stranded Animal Rescue Transport

Puyallup Area Puppy Mill Regulations 

In 2020 we will be even more focused on fighting the puppy mill industry through research, education and activism. We will be able to build upon all of these successes and push for even more oversight on the pet store/puppy mill industry across the country. With your support, we can continue our important work. Can we count on you, so the puppy mill dogs can count on us? 

To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter, which will allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills !  

 

 

 

2019 Holiday Puppy Mill Awareness PSAs

Every Holiday Season (and all year long)  Bailing Out Benji works tirelessly to raise awareness about the pet store/puppy mill connection. This is the busiest time of year for pet stores and puppy mills, because the public makes decisions with their hearts and they don’t do the proper research. 

This is why we turn our focus to creating big public PSAs over the Holidays. We take our message straight to the public in hopes of stopping potential puppy buyers before they give their money to a very cruel industry. 2019 is our biggest year yet for educational PSAs and we couldn’t be happier! We took our animated PSA and turned it into a commercial to be played in movie theaters across the country! Below you will find the locations of where our ads and billboards will be. 

* We might also be adding to this list based on donations and support * 

If you are interested in donating to our current PSA fundraiser, you can do so here. We can’t continue doing all that we do without your support. 

THEATER ADS: 

These 60 second ads will play before every single movie in the theaters below, from Black Friday to the New Year. We also have educational posters in each of these locations! These ads alone will reach over ONE MILLION PEOPLE next month. With hits like Frozen 2, Jumanji 2 and the latest Star Wars movie- we are reaching a wide variety of consumers. You can view our  our animated PSA here or in person at any of the following theaters:

ILLINOIS: 

St Clair 10 Cinema- Fairview Heights, IL 

Hollywood Palms Cinema- Naperville, IL 

IOWA: 

Sycamore Cinema- Iowa City, IA 

Century 20 Jordan Creek Cinema- Des Moines, IA 

Legacy 3 theater- Shenandoah, IA 

Royal 3 Theatre- Le Mars, IA 

MINNESOTA: 

Safari Cinema- Moorhead, MN 

Rochester Galaxy 14 + IMAX – Rochester, MN 

MISSOURI: 

Eagles Landing 8 Cinema- Lake Ozark, MO 

NEBRASKA: 

Edgewood Cinema- Lincoln, NE 

Askarben 10 Theater- Omaha, NE 

Pioneer 3 Theater- Nebraska City, NE 

New Jersey:These ads will run:  12/20-12/26

AMC Garden State 16: Paramus Mall Theater. Paramus, NJ

AMC Mountainside 10. Mountainside, NJ

VIRGINIA – These ads will run: 11/20- 12/5 and 12/20-12/26

Fairfax Corner 14- Fairfax, VA 

Fredericksburg 14- Fredericksburg, VA

Valley View Grande Stadium 16- Roanoke, VA

Legacy Theaters- Staunton, VA 

WISCONSIN: 

Campus Ripon Cinema- Ripon, WI 

Ho-Chunk Cinema- Tomah, WI 

Southgate Cinema- Milwaukee, WI 

If you are interested in donating to our current PSA fundraiser, you can do so here. We can’t continue doing all that we do without your support. 

 

BILLBOARDS: 

We are also putting billboards up in strategic areas across the country. These billboards will be placed near stores that are selling puppies from puppy mills. 

ARKANSAS / MISSOURI: 

Jane, Missouri- Right at the state line as people enter Arkansas

Benton County- past the exit in Lowell with a South facing billboard

 Washington County- Johnson Exit coming into Fayetteville

ILLINOIS: 

North Riverside- Cermak (22nd St) and First Ave (north facing)

North Riverside- Cermak (22nd St) and First Ave (south facing)

Joliet- Route 59, WS, at Theodore, FS – Digital

Bolingbrook – Boughton Rd, N/S, 25’ E/O Janes Ave, Facing East

IOWA:

Davenport: 713 Harrison Ave. 

WASHINGTON: 

Puyallup, WA : River Road/76th Ave; Canyon Road/128th St; Meridian St E/160th St; Canyon Road/84th St; AND 112th St/98th Ave. 

If you are interested in donating to our current PSA fundraiser, you can do so here. We can’t continue doing all that we do without your support. 

If you are interested in getting a billboard or commercial up in your town, please contact us! BUT FIRST: Individuals can start by identifying a nearby billboard location or theater company and finding out the fee to rent the space. If you wish to rent the ad space, or can get the sign owner to donate the space for free, we will provide all artwork and PSAs at no cost. We cannot, however, fund additional ads at this time without donor support. 

* WE WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE OUR LIST ABOVE AS WE GET MORE LOCATIONS ADDED*

Do YOU want to be a walking billboard? Then make sure you order one of our #EndPuppyMills t-shirts here and wear it everywhere you go! 

Bailing Out Benji is a small nonprofit organization that makes big changes with very few resources. Our research is used by the leading animal welfare organizations across the country, because what we do is so unique and important.  To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

To make a donation or learn about other ways to support our efforts, click the image above

To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills !

 

 

Buyer Beware: JAKS Puppies

When it comes to the puppy mill industry, there is no shortage of “key players” in the game. You have breeders, brokers, transport companies, pet stores and online websites. In this day and age, there is no true way to know where your puppy is coming from unless you visit the facility yourself, or adopt a pet from a local rescue or shelter. 

Unfortunately, the dog breeding business is clouded in secrecy and, unless you know how to ask the right questions, you will constantly be searching for answers. One of the main projects that Bailing Out Benji focuses on is obtaining government documents that track puppies from breeder to broker to pet store, so the public has a fighting chance to do their research before they buy a puppy. In this case, we have requested those government documents, Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs),  on notorious dog broker, JAKS Puppies. JAKS Puppies is based out of Britt, Iowa and not only sells to pet stores all over the country, but they started one of the nation’s first sham rescue operations ;  they are being investigated by the Iowa Attorney General due to puppy laundering and they are linked to other sham rescue organizations that are being sued in the state of California

The tricky part with the secretive puppy mill industry is that the CVIs are only needed when a puppy is crossing state lines. So the JAK’s name is on those documents when a pet store gets the puppy- and rarely the name of the actual breeder. This is where we come in! Below you will find a list of all of the known puppy mills that JAKS buys from before they broker the puppies to pet stores from coast to coast. ( Please note: we won’t see any of the Iowa breeders that JAKS sources from, because CVIs weren’t required for the initial transfer) 

Here is the latest USDA inspection report of JAKS.

Below you will find a list of the breeders and puppy mills that JAKS Puppies sourced from in 2018 and 2019 organized by state that the puppies originated in. All of this data is backed up by government health records (CVIs) 

To view our interactive website and puppy mill maps, click here.

Minnesota

  1. Angie McDuffee and Wanda Kretzman, Clearwater Kennel, doing business as: AJ’s Angels Inc, Cushing Minnesota– 774 adult breeding dogs 594 puppies at their last known inspection in June 2018. On March 2, 2015, the USDA filed a complaint against Clearwater Kennels for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act.  Prior, on March 9, 2016, Clearwater Kennels (owner Wanda Kretzman) cancelled its USDA license. Also on March 9, 2016, a USDA license was granted to AJ’s Angels to operate the kennel on the same property. The owner of AJ’s Angels is the daughter-in-law of Wanda Kretzman. This facility has also been named one of the worst puppy mills in the country… twice
  2. Justin Sawyer, Foot Hills Farm. Backus, Minnesota- 96 adult breeding dogs. 
  3. John and Lyle Renner, Renner’s Kennel. Detroit Lakes, Minnesota- 134 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: Excessive fecal matter, puppies too crowded in small pens, dogs with excessive hair loss, dogs with swollen paws, and many more. To view USDA inspection photos, click here. This facility has also been named one of the worst puppy mills in the country… twice
  4. Reuben Wee, Marshall, Minnesota- does not appear to be licensed. 
  5. Kristen Hurst. Russell, Minnesota- 29 adult breeding dogs. 
  6. Marlton and Paul De Neui, Family Addition Kennel. Clinton, Minnesota- 13 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: Admitted to only cleaning/ sanitizing kennels once a month, inspector detected severe odor smell and  cobwebs. paint flaking and  rusted wires in kennels food and water bowls have brown, oily residue, excessive fly problem.
  7. Jim Christian. Currie, Minnesota- 30 adult breeding dogs. 
  8. Craig and Linda Kleven, Fair View Kennels. Walnut Grove, Minnesota- 89 adult breeding dogs. 
  9. Sherrye Swenson. Backus, Minnesota- 31 adult breeding dogs, 77 puppies. 
  10. Leroy Yoder, Pleasant View Kennels. Saint Charles Minnesota- 76 adult breeding dogs, 142 puppies. 

Kansas

  1. Michelle Russell, Big Creek Kennel. Erie, Kansas – 81 adult breeding dogs.
  2. Doug and Loretta Gurtler, D&L Kennels. Beattie, Kansas- 12 dogs (down from 25) with a history of violations including: missed Inspections, food bowls covered in bird feces, frozen water bowls covered in bird poop, outdoor dog houses covered in bird poop, No pest prevention.
  3. Mary Moore, D&M Kennel. Uniontown, Kansas- 175 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including selling and transporting puppies that were under 8 weeks of age to Petland Stores in Kansas.

Illinois

  1. Mary Beth Yutzy. Liberty, Illinois- does not appear to be licensed. 
  2. Larry Yoder. Oblong, Illinois- does not appear to be licensed. 

South Dakota

  1. Calvin Kroger, Kroger Kennel. Hudson, South Dakota- 60 adult breeding dogs.
  2. Jason Riggs, DPK. Ethan, South Dakota- 30 adult breeding dogs, Down from 66 adults. This breeder has missed inspections and has been written up for having dogs with excessive tartar on teeth. Riggs was also named one of the worst puppy mills in the nation. 
  3. Joette Peterson- Freeman, South Dakota , 30 adult dogs. Peterson has been named one of the worst puppy mills in the country three separate times and has a long history of violations. 
  4. Tina Brennan, Brennan Kennels. Pukwana, South Dakota- 19 adult breeding dogs. 
  5. Shelley Bensen. Parker, South Dakota- does not appear to be licensed. 
  6. Arin Riggs. Ethan, South Dakota- does not appear to be licensed. 
  7. Brian Goehring. Lesterville, South Dakota- does not appear to be licensed. 
  8. Robert Heckenliable. Freeman, South Dakota- does not appear to be licensed. 

Pennsylvania

  1. Harvey H Martin. Denver, Pennsylvania- does not appear to be licensed. 

Wisconsin

Due to the sheer number of licensees in some of these Amish communities, it can be extremely hard to decipher which licensee is which. So we list “unable to access records” instead of statistics, as it is very hard to determine if some of the breeders even hold a license. This is due to the fact that the USDA heavily redacts their records now. 

  1. Ammon Zimmerman, Paradise Valley Acres. Stitzer, Wisconsin- 71 adult breeding dogs. 
  2. Marvin Hochstetler. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 16 adult breeding dogs. 
  3. Ervin W Bontrager. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 56 adult breeding dogs with a long history of violations including dogs with eye illnesses, filthy kennels, matted dogs and they received an official warning from the State of Wisconsin. Bontrager was also named one of the worst puppy mills in the country. 
  4. Jesse Miller.  Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 56 adult breeding dogs. 
  5. Andrew Miller. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 50 adult breeding dogs. 
  6. Daniel Ray Miller. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 73 adult breeding dogs. 
  7. Michael Paul Bontrager. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 26 adult breeding dogs. 
  8. Phillip Bontrager. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 36 adult breeding dogs. 
  9. Milton Bontrager. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 23 adult breeding dogs. 
  10. Jerry Otto. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 58 adult breeding dogs. 
  11. David J Nisley. Westby, Wisconsin- 157 adult breeding dogs, 121 puppies. 
  12. Titus C Yoder. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- 46 adult breeding dogs.
  13. Noah Martin. Withee, Wisconsin- 132 adult breeding dogs, 45 puppies. 
  14. Clyde Z Horst, Red Barn Kennel. Stanley, Wisconsin- 83 adult breeding dogs. 
  15. Norman Hoschetetler. Hillsboro, Wisconsin- does not appear to be licensed. 
  16. Reuben A Schrock, Premier Kennels. Westby, Wisconsin- unable to access records. 
  17. Christian Graber, Hillsboro, Wisconsin- unable to access records. 

Ohio 

Due to the sheer number of licensees in some of these Amish communities, it can be extremely hard to decipher which licensee is which. So we list “unable to access records” instead of statistics, as it is very hard to determine if some of the breeders even hold a license. This is due to the fact that the USDA heavily redacts their records now. 

  1. Marion Miller. Fredericksburg, Ohio- 23 adult breeding dogs. 
  2. Ben J Troyer, Locust Ridge Farm. Baltic. Ohio- 45 adult breeding dogs. 
  3. Mary E Yoder. Millersburg, Ohio- 118 adult breeding dogs, 94 puppies. 
  4. Allen J and Katie Yoder. Millersburg, Ohio- 32 adult breeding dogs. 
  5. Samuel E Yoder, Pleasant Pets. Baltic, Ohio- 24 adult breeding dogs. 
  6. Aden A Yoder. Millersburg, Ohio- unable to access records. 
  7. Eli Herschberger. Fredericksburg, Ohio- unable to access records .
  8. Marlin Beachy. Loudonville, Ohio- unable to access records. 
  9. Roy L  Yoder. Millersburg, Ohio- unable to access records. 
  10. Joseph D Miller. Millersburg, Ohio- unable to access records. 
  11. Aaron Schlabach. Sugar Creek, Ohio- unable to access records. 

Indiana- 

Due to the sheer number of licensees in some of these Amish communities, it can be extremely hard to decipher which licensee is which. So we list “unable to access records” instead of statistics, as it is very hard to determine if some of the breeders even hold a license. This is due to the fact that the USDA heavily redacts their records now. 

  1. Kenny Joe Knepp, Loogootee Indiana- 106 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: dogs with chewed up ear tips, dogs with excessive tartar build up and sunken eyes. 
  2. Devon Schrock. Middlebury, Indiana- 77 adult breeding dogs
  3. Jason Knepp and Phil Stoll. Montgomery, Indiana- 49 adult breeding dogs. 
  4. Nelson Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- 18 adult breeding dogs. 
  5. Jason L Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- 10 adult breeding dogs. 
  6. Marvin Lee Knepp. Montgomery, Indiana- 36 adult breeding dogs. 
  7. Ronnie and Lovina Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- 21 adult breeding dogs. 
  8. Dallas, Joseph D and Anna Mae Graber. Odon, Indiana- 32 adult breeding dogs. 
  9. Richard D Wagler. Loogootee, Indiana- 27 adult breeding dogs. 
  10. Jonathan Raber.  Loogootee, Indiana- 16 adult breeding dogs.
  11. Herman Raber. Montgomery, Indiana- 28 adult breeding dogs. 
  12. Jerry S and Christine Wickey. Geneva, Indiana- 17 adult breeding dogs. 
  13. Jacob L Schwartz. Grabill, Indiana- 9 adult breeding dogs. 
  14. Jerry Miller, Play More Kennel.  Lagrange, Indiana- 15 adult breeding dogs. 
  15. Martin J Miller. Lagrange, Indiana- 46 adult breeding dogs. 
  16. John Otto. Ligonier, Indiana- 24 adult breeding dogs. 
  17. Wayne Miller, Woffer Kennels. Middlebury, Indiana- 85 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: dogs with severe dental disease. 
  18. Edwin and Ida Mae Wagler, I & E Kennel. Loogootee, Indiana- 61 adult breeding dogs.
  19. Vernon and Kathryn Lambright, Peaceful Hollow pets AKA Clearspring Kennels. Wolcottville, Indiana- 104 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations that resulted in them being named one of the worst puppy mills in the country. 
  20. Adrian Stoll. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  21. Levi and Janet Wagler. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  22. Floyd Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  23. Jason Graber. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  24. Marvin Knepp. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  25. Aden Graber. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  26. Marlin Raber.  Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  27. Kerry D Wittmer. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  28. Keith D Wagler. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  29. Renita Eicher. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  30. Jesse Wagler. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  31. Edwin Swartzentruber. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  32. Allen Stoll. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  33. Dan Graber. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  34. Perry K Wagler. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  35. Delbert Raber. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  36.  James Graber. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  37. Marcus Lengacher. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  38. Elmer E Raber. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  39. Lloyd Wagler. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  40. Gerald Diener. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  41. Royden Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  42. Nelson Schlabach.Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  43. Henry Stoll. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  44. Levi Stoll.Odon, Indiana- unable to access records.
  45. Darrell J Wagler. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  46. Dale Knepp. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  47. Omer Graber. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  48. Leroy Wagler. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  49. Owen Stoll. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  50. Dallas L Raver. Odon, Indiana- unable to access records.
  51. Kenny Stoll. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  52. Kenny and Glenda Stoll. Montgomery, Indiana- unable to access records.
  53. Jerry W and Esther Wickey.  Geneva, Indiana- unable to access records.
  54. Leonard Bontrager. Lagrange, Indiana- unable to access records.
  55. Eugene Yoder. Goshen, Indiana- unable to access records.
  56. David Glick. Middlebury, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  57. Janice Wagler. Loogootee, Indiana- unable to access records.
  58. Richard Jr Frey. Topeka, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  59. Jerry Wingard. Goshen Indiana- unable to access records. 
  60. Faron Lehman. Goshen, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  61. Steven Yoder. Goshen, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  62. Floyd Yoder. Topeka, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  63. Joe Troyer. Ligonier, Indiana-  unable to access records. 
  64. Jonas Lehman. Shipshewana, Indiana- unable to access records. 
  65. Wayne Slabach. Lagrange, Indiana- unable to access records. 

Missouri

Due to the sheer number of suppliers coming out of Missouri, we are still compiling the list and will update this link as we go through the records. 

  1. Phil Hoover, Memphis Missouri- 396 adult breeding dogs, 181 puppies. 
  2. Chester and Debbie Williams. Greentop, Missouri- 257 adult breeding dogs, 81 puppies
  3. Angela Fields, Green Castle Missouri- 74 adult breeding dogs with previous inspection violations including: excessive amounts of old feces under raised kennels, sharp points poking into kennels, unlabeled medicine. To view USDA inspection photos, click here.
  4. Gary and Victoria Simmons. Amity, Missouri- 85 adult breeding dogs. 
  5. Harvey Rissler, H&B Kennels. Barnett,  Missouri- 175 adult breeding dogs, 103 puppies. 
  6. Eva Mae and Ruben Rissler. R&R Kennel. Barnett, Missouri- 73 adult breeding dogs with recent violations including having outdoor kennels so filthy that dogs couldn’t walk without stepping in feces. 
  7. Betty Fetters, Fetters Furry Friends. Novinger, Missouri-  118 adult breeding dogs.
  8. Mary Lou Blaine, Sunny B’s Kennel AKA Blaine’s Kennel. Greentop, Missouri- 13 adult breeding dogs.
  9. Anna Mae Good, Playful Puppies.  Rutledge, Missouri- 81 adult breeding dogs. 
  10. Karen Highland, Rocky Ridge Kennels. Milan, Missouri- 71 adult breeding dogs. 
  11. Geri Higgins, Higgins Kenel.  Kirksville, Missouri- 50 adult breeding dogs. 
  12. Junior Detweiler. Princeton, Missouri- 92 adult breeding dogs, 68 puppies
  13. Amos D Schwartz. Princeton, Missouri- 104 adult breeding dogs, 58 puppies with a history of violations that resulted in this kennel being named one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country. 
  14. Malinda and Raymond Yutzy. Princeton, Missouri- 154 adult breeding dogs, 84 puppies
  15. Reuben Yutzy, Little Paw Kennels. Jamesport, Missouri- 57 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: having kennel areas too dark to inspect, dogs with fleas and alopecia. 
  16. Janet Sloan. Versailles, Missouri- 13 adult breeding dogs with violations including using expired medications on the dogs. 
  17. Mabel Zimmerman, Prairie Dog Kennel. Latham, Missouri- 26 adult breeding dogs. 
  18. Fannie and Mahlon Schrock, Schrock Family Kennel.  Harwood, Missouri- 19 adult breeding dogs. 
  19. Calvin and Teresa Good, CT Kennels. Memphis, Missouri- 169 adult breeding dogs, 127 puppies. 
  20. Karen Hoover. Hurdland, Missouri- 13 adult breeding dogs. 
  21. Chris Gingerich, Falcon Acres. Jamesport, Missouri- 11 adult breeding dogs. Changed USDA number. 
  22. Chris and Catherine Mast. C&C Kennel. Bogard, Missouri- 58 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations that caused them to be named one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country, twice
  23. Andy and Ruby Mast, Lazy Creek Kennel.  Bogard, Missouri- 27 adult breeding dogs. 
  24. David and Katie Stutzman. Jamesport, Missouri- 28 adult breeding dogs. 
  25. Double R cattle. Jamesport, Missouri- Unable to access records. 
  26. Stoney Creek Kennels. Jamesport, Missouri- Unable to access records. 
  27. Dana Farr. Stewartsville, Missouri- unable to access records.  
  28. Daniel Blaine. Greentop, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  29. John Hall.  Ava, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  30. Annetta Shirk. Chula, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  31. Dawn Shetler. Edna, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  32. Joseph Hostetler. Jamesport, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  33. Joseph Herschberger, Windy Knoll Kennel. Spickard, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  34. Lester W Troyer. Clark, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  35. Gladys Martin. Versailles, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  36. Kevin Martin. Edina, Missouri- unable to access records.
  37. Michael Yutzy.  Jamesport, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  38. Roman Detweiler. Princeton, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  39. Andrew Borntrager. Princeton, Missouri- unable to access records.
  40. Stephen Yutzy. Jamesport, Missouri- unable to access records.
  41. Rick Luna. Dora, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  42. Ivan Yutzy.  Jamesport, Missouri- unable to access records. 
  43. Leslie Brown.  Marceline, Missouri- unable to access records.

*We are still combing through the Missouri CVIS* 

 

Once JAKS Puppies (the broker) receives the puppies, they are then resold and transported up to 25 hours in the backs of semis and transport vans to pet stores all over the country. All before the puppy is even 9 weeks old. To view the rest of our pet store research, click here.

To put an end to this cruel industry, we must stop putting money into the pockets of the businesses that are fueling puppy mills. Don’t shop at pet stores that sell puppies and don’t buy a puppy online or through a newspaper without meeting the parents first. Please consider making a donation to our nonprofit organization to help us continue researching, exposing and fighting the puppy mill industry. 

To help us continue exposing pet stores and puppy mills, please make a tax deductible donation today.

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to

#EndPuppyMills !

 

 

** To those consumers that have bought a family member from a pet store or a questionable breeder, and are wondering about their actual background -please feel free to fill out the form below with any questions or paperwork that you have and we will confidentially research the breeder your pup came from.

Buyer Beware: Petland Iowa City

©2019

All research was done by  Bailing Out Benji and must be cited. 

We don’t buy from puppy mills.”

“All of our puppies come from small, local breeders.”

“We visit every breeder we buy from.”

We have all heard these sentences come from the mouths of pet store owners and their employees. They paint this beautiful picture of puppies running by a pond and parents frolicking in the fresh, green grass… Sadly, 99% of the time that is false because the truth is that reputable breeders would never sell their puppies in pet stores. The pet store owners know it, the employees might know it- but the customer is completely in the dark. This is why we are here. Bailing Out Benji exists to provide the transparency that the puppy mills and pet stores often will not. 

Take Petland Iowa City, for example. Owners Ron and Wendy Solsrud don’t just say “we don’t buy from puppy mills”, they shout it from the rooftops. Ron has a weekly spot on the local TV station KGAN, and he has done various interviews for different stations and his own youtube channel where he has made the following claims: 

“With Wendy and I owning Petland, you have boots on the ground for animal welfare- for pet’s welfare”. – Iowa City city council meeting 4/24/19 

“Wendy and I travel 1000 miles every week and that’s been for 13 years to do exactly what they are driving to do- and that is to get rid of puppy mills.” – KCRG Channel 9 video interview 

“We hear so many bad things about breeders and that kind of stuff and we just wanted to say ‘Hey, we need to be vocal about what we do and proud of it’.” – KGAN interview 

“We all want to eliminate and stop the puppy mills that are out there” – KCRG Channel 9 video interview

“I want to work with the best of the best out there.” Ron’s Petland Iowa City youtube channel. 

This all sounds great- right? A pet store owner that wants to fight puppy mills- perfect! Sadly, Ron’s actions don’t quite match up with his words. You see, puppies that are sold in pet stores are all traced through government health documents. Documents that are easily obtained from various Departments of Agriculture. Below you will find records of puppies that Petland Iowa City has purchased and sold from November 2018 to present. 

For example, this puppy was purchased at Petland on 5-17-2019. 

Obtained Exclusively by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited when shared.

As you can see this puppy was not only born at an Amish breeding facility in Utica, Minnesota (32 adult breeding dogs, 71 puppies. USDA 02-19-19 ); but it was then sold to a broker before arriving at Petland. This broker (distributor) Blue Ribbon Kennels is operated by Levi Graber, who at the time of last inspection (09-19-2018) had 148 puppies on his property. Even more troubling is the fact that Levi Graber was just investigated by the Center for Disease Control for selling sick puppies to Petland locations all over the country. According to the Humane Society of the United States,Graber was linked to the drug-resistant disease outbreak that made at least 118 people sick in 2016 and 2018. A number of the infected people became so ill that they were hospitalized. …. Meanwhile, through state-level Freedom of Information Act requests, HSUS was able to find records from the Indiana Department of Health that linked Graber’s property to the disease outbreak.”

Because of this, Levi Graber was named one of the “Horrible Hundred” puppy mills. 

Why would Petland Iowa City knowingly buy from a broker that sold puppies who were so sick, the illness passed along to humans and sent them to the hospital?

———————

Even more disturbingly, Petland Iowa City is linked to a transport company, Puppy Travelers, that was also in hot water for their practices. 

Obtained exclusively by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such.

Again, not only is Skyline View LLC a huge Amish breeding facility in Minnesota (111 adult breeding dogs, 89 puppies. USDA 02-06-2019) , but the puppies were transported by a company that landed themselves on the Horrible Hundred puppy mill list because they had 24 puppies seized outside of a Florida PETLAND. According to inspectors , “the puppies were kept in crowded cages full of feces and urine without any water.” and at “one point there were up to 127 puppies inside the truck….” and also that “some of the puppies’ documentation was also altered, incomplete or missing—some didn’t have health certificates” The transport company made a statement admitting to investigators that, “they don’t clean the feces until they’re back in Missouri.”

Yet this company is one that Ron and Wendy Solsrud trust to bring healthy puppies into their location? 

———————

We’ve also been able to prove that Petland Iowa City has purchased puppies from another Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill- Pam Wilson, Gallatin MO. 

Obtained exclusively by Bailing Out Benji and must be cited as such.

At the time of last known inspection (07-06-2018) Pam Wilson had 27 adult breeding dogs and 27 puppies, which doesn’t sound too troubling. What is most concerning, are Pam’s long list of violations. Taken from an excerpt of the 2018 Horrible Hundred puppy mill list, from the Humane Society of the United States, “In June 2017, a Missouri state inspector found nine violations at Pam Wilson’s kennel, including issues with unsafe housing, inadequate cleaning, unsafe animal handling and lack of proper veterinary care. Two separate veterinary careissues were cited, including one “direct” violation for a French bulldog puppy who had scabs and crusty areas from her neck to her midline (spine). According to the licensee, multiple other dogs had similar lesions and she had apparently “develop[ed] itchy rashes herself after handling some of the dogs.” None of these dogs had been seen by their veterinarian at the time of inspection for the issues, which could be caused by scabiesor other parasites. The inspector also noted that there was no current program of veterinary care available. Other violations noted at this inspection included a cattle prod found in one of the rooms that the licensee claimed she used to break up dog fights. The inspection report stated,“The licensee shall immediately discontinue use of any non-species appropriate training/management equipment to prevent unnecessary injury, stress, or trauma to the animals.” Other concerns noted at this inspection were about “20 exposed power outlets” accessible to the dogs and puppies in the licensee’s house, among other issues.”

But with Wendy and Ron owning Petland, I thought that we had boots on the ground for animal welfare? 

———————

Unfortunately, pet store owners do not have to tell you the truth about where their puppies come from until after you purchase the puppy. Neither Iowa City nor the state of Iowa have disclosure laws requiring pet stores to disclose the name of the breeder on each cage, nor does the city or state have any regulations governing the sale of puppies and kittens in retail settings. The truth is that reputable breeders do not sell their puppies in pet stores. In fact, the majority of National breed clubs’  “Codes of Ethics” prohibit their members from selling their puppies to pet stores or brokers. According to Ron’s youtube channel: “Breeders are great, but breeders will sell you one type of dog and that’s it. And they aren’t going to supply you with all of the training and that stuff.” 

———————

Here is the full list of the breeders we know have supplied Petland Iowa City since November 2018. 

  1. Amos Yoder, Skyline View LLC, St Charles, Minnesota- 111 adult breeding dogs, 89 puppies. Has a habit of skipping inspections
  2. Kallie and Josh Bateman, “Bateman Diversified” AKA Puppy Travelers Transport AKA Florida West Transport. Neosho, Missouri- This company transports puppies to Florida under many different names and they were recently named one of the worst puppy mills in the country due to their transport practices. In February 2018, 24 puppies were seized from a Puppy Travelers transport van outside a Petland store in Fort Myers, Florida. The puppies were found with “urine, feces and no water” in their cages, according to news sources, and many of them were sick. This transporter was named one of the worst puppy mills in the nation. To view the entire report, click here.
  3. Leroy Yoder, Pleasant View Kennels. Saint Charles Minnesota- 76 adult breeding dogs, 142 puppies. 
  4. Toby F Detweiler, Hidden Hollow Kennels. Saint Charles, Minnesota- 37 adult breeding dogs 
  5. John Henry Miller, Utica Minnesota- 45 adult breeding dogs. 
  6. Henry Yoder, Utica, Minnesota- 47 adult breeding dogs 
  7. David D Yoder Jr. Utica, Minnesota- 49 adult breeding dogs. 
  8. Leon Troyer, Jamesport Missouri- unable to access records. 
  9. Phil Hoover, Memphis Missouri- 364 adult breeding dogs.
  10. Betty Fetters, Fetters Furry Friends. Novinger, Missouri-  118 adult breeding dogs.
  11. Jonathan Detweiler, Shady Oak Frenchies. Princeton, Missouri- 27 adult breeding dogs. Under previous USDA number, Detweiler had hundreds of breeding dogs and numerous violations regarding the health of his dogs and issues with kennels. 
  12. Joseph Detweiler, Cedar View Kennel. Princeton, Missouri- 56 adult breeding dogs. 
  13. Stephen Detweiler, Princeton Missouri- unable to access records. 
  14. Reuben Yutzy, Little Paw Kennels. Jamesport, Missouri- 57 adult breeding dogs. 
  15. Samuel and Rachel Mast, Trenton Missouri- unable to access records 
  16. Devon Schlabach, Honey Locust Kennel. Princeton Missouri- 52 adult breeding dogs 
  17. Daniel Yoder, Yoder Kennel. Princeton Missouri- 65 adult breeding dogs 
  18. Dave and Janet Lovland,  Loveland Kennels. Atlanta (Macon), Missouri- unable to access records. 
  19. Pam Wilson, Gallatin Missouri- Wilson runs one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country with a history of violations including: issues with unsafe housing, inadequate cleaning, unsafe animal handling,  lack of proper veterinary care and the breeder admitting to using cattle prods on the dogs. 
  20. Ura Troyer, Countryside Kennels. Bethany Missouri- unable to access records
  21. Justin Horst, Edina Missouri- unable to access records.
  22. Ammon Herschberger, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records. 
  23. Anna Mae Good, Playful Puppies. Rutledge, Missouri- 83 adult breeding dogs. 
  24. Toby Herschberger, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records. 
  25. Jonas Hostetler, Jamesport Missouri- 11 adult breeding dogs 
  26. Andy Zook, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records. 
  27. Randall & Sheree Bonnette – Chillicothe, Missouri- 125 adult breeding dogs
  28. Audrey Reiff, Arbela Missouri- unable to access records. 
  29. Sam Schwartz, Autumn View Farm. La Plata, Missouri- 28 adult breeding dogs

Did you buy a puppy from a pet store and want to know where it came from? Fill out the form below and we can help you track down your puppy’s breeder! 

 

Is the “Amazon Culture” keeping puppy mills alive?

Written by Mindi Callison, 
Executive Director, Bailing Out Benji 
©2019
If you are not aware of what puppy mills are, 
please click here before starting this article. 

 

Is the “Amazon Culture” keeping puppy mills alive? 

Let me start by saying that Amazon does not run puppy mills, they don’t sell puppies or other animals, and they actually have a WONDERFUL program where you can shop as you normally would and they will make a donation to your favorite nonprofit ( shameless plug, click here to make Bailing Out Benji you charity of choice on Amazon!). So when I ask the question ‘Is the “Amazon Culture” keeping puppy mills alive?’ I don’t mean literally, but we will get into that more in a second.

First, let’s take a quick step back in time. 

…. too much.

In the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s it was extremely common to see puppies for sale in every department store you walked into, such as Macy’s, Sears, Younkers, etc. Patti Page’s famous song “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?”  takes us back to that simple time whenever it plays in a commercial or on the oldie’s station. This was literally how people got puppies back in the day. You walked into the mall and to your local department store and saw those playful puppies in the window.  As the years and decades slipped by, the dog breeding industry became extremely prolific, especially in the midwest. The USDA stepped in to start licensing breeders that were breeding dogs in a commercial fashion (without providing education on how to do so) , and suddenly mom and pop pet stores started popping up everywhere. These stores promoted the impulse buying of puppies; families who might not have been ready for a puppy or the energy of a specific breed left the store with a new furry family member. If you are reading this then you know, this still happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in almost every single state. However, we have something now that they didn’t have in the 40’s. 

The internet. 

Now you can order literally anything on the internet. You want a sweater? Done. You need a stack of textbooks before your college classes start? Easy peasy! You want to order your groceries and have them delivered so you don’t have to interact with people? Got it! And best of all, with Amazon Prime, YOU CAN GET ALL OF THESE ITEMS IN TWO DAYS OR LESS. That is service! Shopping for items has never been easier and we can find anything we want online. The times have changed in ways that we never could have expected 80 years ago.

Don’t be Veruca Salt, wait until you find the right dog for your lifestyle.

Unfortunately, because when we want something we can get it in two days or less, our society has become EXTREMELY impatient and this directly correlates to the rise of puppy mill industry. As the public becomes more aware of the puppy mill connection to pet stores, they are becoming weary of buying puppies in stores (although it still happens) and that awareness is truly a wonderful thing. With thousands of rescues and shelters across the country who have truly amazing dogs and cats that need homes, it really makes sense for members of the general public to adopt a pet. But how does this culture of online shopping correlate to puppy mills? 

 In the last two decades we have seen a huge trend in online sales of puppies and you might be shocked to learn that it wasn’t until 2014 that the USDA finally closed a loophole in their Animal Welfare Act that required breeders who sold puppies online to hold a USDA license and be inspected, as any other commercial breeder selling to the public would be. Can you believe it? Before 2014, the internet was like the wild, wild west of puppy mill sales!

Now these websites have started evolving, while a puppy mill might still operate their own kennel website, they have also started advertising their puppies on websites like: NextDayPets , PuppySpot , Lancaster Puppies, Greenfield Puppies, and PuppyFind (to name a few). These websites act as brokers, where the consumer can search for any breed of dog they want and have it shipped to them as soon as they want it. They often aren’t even told the name of their breeder until AFTER the transaction is complete, they are also rarely given information about the parent dogs, and they are never given consultation to find the right dog for their lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, what these websites are doing is feeding into the impulsiveness of our society and supporting some of the worst puppy mills in the nation. Consumers are seeing cute dogs on Facebook (ahem, “pomsky”),  googling them and buying one without really giving any thought to how the dog will fit into their lifestyle. These same people who need a dog and they need it NOW are often unwilling to look for that breed at local rescues and shelters, and they are even less likely to be put on a waiting list for a responsible breeder to have a planned litter.  

RED FLAG- if a breeder has a “shopping cart” on their website and you can literally pick a puppy, pay and have it delivered to you all in the same day, it is not a safe place to buy from. 

As a society, we need to take a minute to breathe and contemplate our purchases before we hit ‘buy now’- especially when it comes to other sentient beings, like puppies. These little puppies grow up to be dogs, and those dogs have the capacity to live 15-20 years. Before anyone buys OR adopts, we need to make sure that we are committed to those creatures through thick and thin. 

Note: All animals can (and are) milled. Cats, rabbits, hamsters, chinchillas, rats, birds, ferrets (and more) are inhumanely bred in large scale commercials facilities to supply pet stores. This article pertains to ‘pocket pets’ as well.

#ShowMeTheMommy !

The BEST way to avoid puppy mills is to, first, always consider adoption. Petfinder.com and AdoptAPet.com are two websites that rescues and shelters use to promote their adoptable animals. Unlike the puppy mill brokering sites, you can’t order a puppy through the site. You can search for any breed of dog near you, see pictures and then find out which rescue they are through and find more information out about their adoption process. If you absolutely can’t find a single dog available in a rescue or shelter, here are a few ways to look for and find a reputable breeder. 

Please note: While we wish every single person in the country would adopt an animal in need, we know that would never happen. At Bailing Out Benji we believe that there are responsible breeders who are NOT puppy mills. Whether or not you agree with breeding, we can hopefully agree that not all breeders are puppy mills. We ALWAYS advocate for adoption first, and that will never change. 

How to find a reputable breeder: 

  1. Start knowing that this will take TIME. You wouldn’t buy a home without researching the neighborhood, checking out local schools and making sure it has been inspected. The same goes for buying a dog. 
  2. AVOID BUYING PUPPIES IN PET STORES. Responsible breeders never sell to pet stores. 
  3. Look at your lifestyle and figure out what breed of dog fits your family. Do you need a couch potato? A running buddy? These are all things to discuss before ever bringing an animal into your home. 
  4. Get a referral. Your local veterinarian is a good place to start, as are your local breed specific rescues and breed clubs. 
  5. Always, always, always, visit the parents of your puppy. Reputable breeders will welcome you to be a part of the family, and will want you to be matched with the right puppy for your family and lifestyle.
  6. Reputable breeders will always take their dogs back if it doesn’t work out. 

For a full checklist of things to look for, check out the HSUS’ Responsible Breeder Checklist here. 

Please remember, that no mater how you obtain a new pet, please make sure that you are choosing the RIGHT pet for your family. Dog, cat, rabbit, chinchilla, whatever… Do your research, maybe foster first to see if you are ready, and then make sure that you are committing to that pet for its entire life. 

 

To learn more about the puppy mill industry:

What is a puppy mill?

The pet store/ puppy mill connection

Puppy mills in your state

Bailing Out Benji is a small nonprofit organization based out of Iowa, with teams all over the country. We are working tirelessly to eradicate the puppy mill industry and put an end to the pet store/puppy mill pipeline. Will you join us in our mission to end puppy mills once and for all? 

To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

To make a donation or learn about other ways to support our efforts, click the image above

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills !  

 

 

 

Buyer Beware: Predatory Pet Leasing

©Bailing Out Benji 2020

Imagine walking into a pet store just to look at the animals with your family and an employee immediately offers for you to hold a puppy. You start snuggling this sweet pup and look around at the dozens of other puppies for sale in cages on the wall. Something doesn’t feel right, but your kids are literally crying to make this pup a part of your family. When you ask how much it would cost to take this French Bulldog home, the sticker shock of $3000 sends you reeling. There is no way you can afford to pay that for a puppy, knowing that you will also have to buy food, toys and a bed- all on top of vet care. As you explain to your children that this puppy costs way too much, the employee immediately offers you a credit card. You hesitate, knowing that your credit isn’t the greatest, but she runs your information anyway. As you imagined, your request for a credit card was denied. On top of the embarrassment of being turned down for a credit card, your children have already named the puppy and you know there is no way you can leave the store without it. What do you do?!  (… besides run away and adopt a dog instead…) The employee then tells you about another option. For a low monthly fee, you can take the dog home today!

All you have to do is sign a contract agreeing to pay the minimum amount each month and your new family member is all yours – – – or is it? 

Example of Petland offering predatory leasing

Pet Leasing is the latest craze (scam) that is sweeping pet stores across the nation. Families who can’t outright afford to buy a dog, and don’t have good enough credit for a credit card are signing high-interest leasing agreements and damaging their credit even more. The fine print on many of these contracts includes a high interest rate, a balloon payment at the end for you to actually purchase the dog, and if you miss a payment, your fluffy family member can be repossessed. Yes… Repossessed. Like a car. None of this is verbally explained to the customers, instead it is hidden in the fine print of the long contract that the family signs in a hurry. Did we mention that you still have to pay off the dog in full even if you return it, it gets sick and dies or if it runs away?!  This pet leasing practice is extremely controversial, because the families are under the assumption that they are taking out a loan for the dog when in all reality they are LEASING the pet. They don’t actually own the dog until all payments and the balloon payment are made on time and in full. While the paperwork is done within the retail pet store, the lease goes through a third-party leasing company. 

Credit lending services such as WAGS lending, Credova lending, My Pet Funding, Easy Pay, and Lending USA are just a few of the lending companies that partner with pet stores in order to scam the public into easily buying puppy mill puppies. You can see through their websites, that some of these companies will lend up to $35,000 to one family with an interest rate of 30%. According to ScamFinance, the company Easy Pay offers loans with the interest rate averaging between 129% and 200%. Can you imagine the sheer amount of debt that is being racked up by these companies who are preying on unsuspecting animal lovers? Combined, LendingUSA and the Petland Credit card have over 1,145 complaints issued through the Better Business Bureau alone in the last 3 years. 

While, yes, those customers should absolutely read the fine print before they sign anything, we are ALL guilty of signing our rights away at some time or another. I’m looking at YOU  “Yes, I have read the terms and agreements before proceeding” . The fault truly lies within the pet stores that are playing on the emotions of the customers. While every Petland location offers leasing and lending on top of their private credit cards, you might be surprised to learn that many local “mom and pop” pet stores also offer third party lending as an option to take a puppy home today. To view which pet stores near you are selling puppies, check out our interactive puppy mill map. 

 

Real contract from Petland Iowa City

So what is being done to combat this? 

On top of many cities and states that are outright banning the retail sale of commercially bred dogs and cats, several localities are also stepping up to ban predatory lending as well. California, New York, Nevada and Washington have all enacted some kind of law that would prevent predatory pet leasing from pet stores and breeders. Other states, like Texas, have had legislation introduced but they didn’t make it through the legislative funnel. Both the HSUS and the ASPCA are warning the public about this issue; as are the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business BureauThe AKC even made a statement against pet leasing, although they have no problem allowing their registered dogs to be sold in pet stores or bred in puppy mills. 

As animal advocates, it is our job to make sure that our city council members and state legislators are aware of this issue and are taking the proper steps to make sure local citizens don’t fall prey to pet leasing practices. Send an email and share this article TODAY to help us create a better world for animals and people everywhere. If those that represent us aren’t aware of the problem, they can’t fix it. Help us educate today! 

Here are a few articles regarding families that have been targeted by predatory pet lending: 

Colorado

New Jersey

New York

 

Written by: Mindi Callison,

Executive Director, Founder of Bailing Out Benji

 

To learn more about the puppy mill industry: 

What is a puppy mill? 

The pet store/ puppy mill connection 

Puppy mills in your state 

 

Bailing Out Benji is a small nonprofit organization based out of Iowa, with teams all over the country. We are working tirelessly to eradicate the puppy mill industry and put an end to the pet store/puppy mill pipeline. Will you join us in our mission to end puppy mills once and for all? 

To receive action alerts and updates on our efforts, click the image above

To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

To make a donation or learn about other ways to support our efforts, click the image above

Follow us on social media and get involved in the fight to #EndPuppyMills !  

 

 

 

Buyer Beware: Pet Connect Rescue

We all know that puppy mills are shady; really shady. Besides making a living off of the suffering of living, breathing dogs; their #1 job is to deceive the public. Thanks to organizations like ours, we have made their lives a little harder in both aspects. Especially when it comes to exposing their shady business practices to the public. 

In recent years, it has become a trend for cities (and now states) to pass legislation banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores from commercial breeders (ahem… puppy mills). Instead, these stores must get their puppies from rescues and shelters to help the homeless animals in their communities instead of aiding in the pet overpopulation problem. That sounds WONDERFUL, right? Bailing Out Benji has helped pass bans across the country on both the city and statewide level and have helped thousands of homeless animals find their forever homes… Unfortunately- where there is a will, there is a way. And puppy mill owners sure have the will to want to make as much money as possible, while doing as little work as possible. Now these puppy mill brokering organizations are turning into “nonprofit”  “rescues” in order to still sell puppies in towns with retail bans. 

Case and Point…

“Pet Rescue Connect”…  “Pet Connect Rescue” or is it “Ark Rescue” … Or is it “Goldee Rescue” … Or their real business “Rothman Enterprises”. All of the addresses listed above, except for one, are PO Boxes in various cities, but all are owned by Alysia Rothman and her partner Ray Rothman. 

Don’t forget about the pet store they own in Connecticut.

**BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER… Our findings about this sham operation out of Missouri are NOT the same PetConnect Rescue out of Maryland or The Pet Connect in Kansas. The organizations have zero affiliation with each other, although their names appear to be similar. **

Through our research we have found that “Pet Connect Rescue” out of Missouri is selling hundreds of puppies to pet stores in California since January 1, 2019. That is when the California statewide retail ban took effect and the stores were legally only able to source puppies from legitimate rescues and shelters. Between the government documents that we obtained and the volunteers we have going into the stores to check cage tags, we have record of Pet Rescue Connect selling to: 

Puppy Kisses: 128 Federal Rd, Danbury, CT 06811

Mutts at Mainplace: 2800 North Main St #1032, Santa Ana California

Villagio Family Pets: 41493 Margarita Rd G-103, Temecula, CA 92591

The Fancy Puppy: 530 Hidden Valley Pkwy #102, Corona, CA 92879

Hello Puppies: 41125 Winchester Rd B6, Temecula, CA 92591

Broadway Puppies: 840 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025

National City Puppy: 1430 E Plaza Blvd E, National City, CA 91950

Town Puppies: 28274 Old Town Front St, Temecula, CA 92590

Palm Desert Puppies: 44825 San Pablo Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260

The Puppy Patch: 3030 Plaza Bonita Rd Ste 2465, National City, CA 91950

Bark Avenue (Formerly Escondido Pets): 200 E Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido CA

Our research has also helped numerous news stations expose the sham rescue operations, and we are also suing a chain of pet stores and other sham rescues in another part of California. 

This “rescue” also obtained their nonprofit status through the IRS. And is officially a 501c3, as of January 2018. 

But where is Pet Connect Rescue getting hundreds of puppies in order to supply so many pet stores? Legitimate rescue organizations wouldn’t have that many 8 week old purebred and “designer” puppies available for sale. Nor would they have to transport them over 25 hours to a pet store in order to find them homes.

Among the many business connections we have found on Alysia and Ray Rothman, we have connected them to another USDA dog brokerDavid Steffensmeier from West Point,  Iowa. Because of the 2017 USDA Blackout we are unable to access his current dog count and records, however he is related to Mark and Gina Steffensmeier of Salem, Iowa. Mark Steffensmeier has a history of violations including:  dogs living in dark, concrete buildings with a history of violations including: spider webs all over, chewed walls and doors of dog houses, tarter buildup on teeth, red gums, dogs with cloudy eyes. They were also named one of the top 100 worst puppy mills in the country. To view inspection photos, click here

We also have records that show the Rothman’s business “Pet Connect Rescue” is sourcing their puppies from another sham rescue operation called Rescue Pets Iowa , who is involved in not just one but two lawsuits in what is now being referred to as a “National Puppy Laundering Scheme”. And, as you can see below, the veterinarian signing off on the health certificates coming from “Rescue Pets Iowa” is one of the horrible hundred puppy mills. 

And lastly, we have records of where the Rothman-owned Connecticut pet store, Puppy Kisses, is sourcing their puppies fromYou won’t be surprised to hear that many of those breeders have been named the worst puppy mills in the country and have a long list of violations. 

So what can be done? Now that the public has been told through legislation in these towns that puppies in pet stores CAN’T come from puppy mills, the general consensus is that it is safe to walk in and “adopt” a puppy- and that is what the pet store is banking on. As animal advocates, it is not only our job to continue exposing the shady practices of pet stores and puppy mills, but to continue with educating the public about how to humanely and ethically acquire a pet. 

Here are few tips to avoid supporting puppy mills through pet stores. 

  1. Is there signage in the store connecting the pet store to a rescue or shelter? Pet stores are proud of their rescue partners and would have flyers, business cards and signage pointing out the relationship. 
  2. Is the rescue or shelter hosting adoption events at the store? Shelters and rescues jump on the opportunity to host adoption events where the public can meet their adoptable animals face-to-face. Legitimate rescues and shelters would be actively hosting adoption events to ensure their pets are seen and find their forever homes. 
  3. Does the rescue or shelter have a Facebook page, website and use pet adoption websites? Legitimate rescues have all of these things. All of them! Fact checking their existence is as easy as picking up your phone and searching for them. But it is up to you to do just that. 
  4. Is the rescue in your area? Rescues don’t ship their puppies to other states to get adopted site unseen. And if they do, they aren’t legitimate. If you are in a pet store and the puppies are being sourced from out of state- RUN, don’t walk away. 
  5. Are there adoption contracts for the animal and are they fully vetted? Again, legitimate rescues and shelters do not send out unaltered puppies/kittens to be sold to anyone who walks in with money. They also require adoption contracts to ensure the pet is going to a forever family, with a return clause in case it doesn’t work out.  

Stay updated. Like us on facebook , twitter and instagram. Stay updated on how you can help in your area. Don’t forget to SHARE!

To support our research and our efforts to expose the puppy mill industry, click the button above.

Contact us using the form below if you have any questions regarding the research of this article, if you unknowingly bought a “Pet Connect Rescue” puppy, or if you want to know more about where your puppy came from. 

Buyer Beware- “Rescue” Pets Iowa

We all know that puppy mills are shady; really shady. Besides making a living off of the suffering of living, breathing dogs; their #1 job is to deceive the public. Thanks to organizations like ours, we have made their lives a little harder in both aspects. Especially when it comes to exposing their shady business practices to the public. 

In recent years, it has become a trend for cities (and now states) to pass legislation banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores from commercial breeders (ahem… puppy mills). Instead, these stores must get their puppies from rescues and shelters to help the homeless animals in their communities instead of aiding in the pet overpopulation problem. That sounds WONDERFUL, right? Bailing Out Benji has helped pass bans across the country on both the city and statewide level… Unfortunately- where there is a will, there is a way. And puppy mill owners sure have the will to want to make as much money as possible, while doing as little work as possible. 

Case and Point…. “Rescue” Pets Iowa: 1617 S Milner St, Ottumwa Iowa. 

This “rescue” seemed to pop up out of nowhere in the last few weeks. Advocates in Iowa have not heard of them, but they  are already selling puppies to pet stores in cities and states that have retail bans. Those puppies are being sold for upwards of $4000 a piece in pet stores in California! Thanks to a California news station, this connection was made public.  This new “rescue” doesn’t host adoption events, they don’t have a facility – –  they don’t even have a Facebook page or a website! In addition, Rescue Pets Iowa isn’t even currently licensed as a rescue in Iowa, nor are they a registered 501c3 with the IRS.This is another fake rescue created by the puppy mill industry to circumvent the laws that are being passed across the nation. We have documents showing that Rescue Pets Iowa has sold almost 1000 puppies to California since November of 2018, an entire month before they got a business license. 

What do we know so far? 

Rescue Pets Iowa just filed as an Iowa business at the end of December 2018, mere weeks before the California retail ban went into effect. They registered their Iowa business as a nonprofit, but have yet to obtain their nonprofit status federally from the IRS.

As we started looking into who is operating this new rescue, we weren’t surprised to learn that the only active officer, Russell Kirk, sells puppies on facebook and recently worked for a dog breeding company that sells “Pet Industry Software” and touts “Our company does everything but clean your kennels and vaccinate your puppies”. As you can see, that was a family business. 

We have also been able to connect the owner of Rescue Pets Iowa to the owners of the puppy mill broker and other fake rescue “Hobo K9 Rescue” as acquaintances- even though their facilities are 200 miles apart. Before the 2019 California retail ban went into effect, Hobo K9 “rescue” was one of the sole suppliers to CA pet stores.  Once they were outed by us and the Chicago Tribune, they have gone relatively silent but have now helped this new fake rescue come to fruition. As you can see in the CVI above, Jolyn Noethe, owner of Hobo K9 and JAKS puppies is signing off on the documents for Rescue Pets Iowa, instead of Russell Kirk. It is also important to note that the veterinarian who is signing off on the health of the puppies, AG Beukelman,  has been named one of the worst puppy mills in the nation. 

Where is “Rescue” Pets Iowa selling puppies? 

We have been able to connect “Rescue” Pets Iowa to another fake rescue in California, “Bark Adoptions” located at 33120 Nancy Lane, Menifee California. Rescue Pets has shipped hundreds of puppies over 2,000 miles across the country to be sold to Bark Adoptions. Bark Adoptions, in turn, is selling the puppies to pet stores all over California. A few of those pet stores include: 

Escondido Pets: 200 E Via Rancho Pkwy, Escondido, CA 92025 , which has since closed and become Bark Ave at the same address. 

Broadway Puppies: 840 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025

Temecula Puppies 4 Less: 31285 Temecula Pkwy #180, Temecula, CA 92592

Animal Kingdom Pet Store:  1675 W Grand Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433

Animal Kingdom Pet Store: 146 Town Center E, Santa Maria, CA 93454

Animal Kingdom Pet Shop: 651 Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

Bark Boutique: Temecula Mall 40820 Winchester Rd #2000, Temecula, CA 92591

The puppies are changing hands an insane amount of times, just so the public can’t see the truth behind what is going on.

From Puppy Mill —>  Rescue Pets Iowa—> 2,000 mile transport —>  Bark Adoptions —> Pet store cage —> to the unsuspecting consumer.

All before these puppies are 10 weeks old. Unfortunately, the parent dogs are suffering back at puppy mills in the Midwest. 

Rescue Pets Iowa is now involved in two lawsuits because of their shady practices. One lawsuit is in California, and the other is in their home state of Iowa. In Iowa, that lawsuit was brought on by the Iowa Attorney General. 

So what can be done? Now that the public has been told through legislation in these towns that puppies in pet stores CAN’T come from puppy mills, the general consensus is that it is safe to walk in and “adopt” a puppy- and that is what the pet store is banking on. As animal advocates, it is not only our job to continue exposing the shady practices of pet stores and puppy mills, but to continue with educating the public about how to humanely and ethically acquire a pet. 

Here are few tips to avoid supporting puppy mills through pet stores. 

  1. Is there signage in the store connecting the pet store to a rescue or shelter? Pet stores are proud of their rescue partners and would have flyers, business cards and signage pointing out the relationship. 
  2. Is the rescue or shelter hosting adoption events at the store? Shelters and rescues jump on the opportunity to host adoption events where the public can meet their adoptable animals face-to-face. Legitimate rescues and shelters would be actively hosting adoption events to ensure their pets are seen and find their forever homes. 
  3. Does the rescue or shelter have a Facebook page, website and use pet adoption websites? Legitimate rescues have all of these things. All of them! Fact checking their existence is as easy as picking up your phone and searching for them. But it is up to you to do just that. 
  4. Is the rescue in your area? Rescues don’t ship their puppies to other states to get adopted site unseen. And if they do, they aren’t legitimate. If you are in a pet store and the puppies are being sourced from out of state- RUN, don’t walk away. 
  5. Are there adoption contracts for the animal and are they fully vetted? Again, legitimate rescues and shelters do not send out unaltered puppies/kittens to be sold to anyone who walks in with money. They also require adoption contracts to ensure the pet is going to a forever family, with a return clause in case it doesn’t work out.  

Stay updated. Like us on facebook , twitter and instagram. Stay updated on how you can help in your area. Don’t forget to SHARE!

If you have any questions regarding the research done within this article, or you want to know more about where your puppy came from, please send us an email and we will get back to you. 

Bailing Out Benji is a small nonprofit organization. Collecting these government documents can be costly. Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts today! 

To help us continue exposing pet stores and puppy mills, please make a tax deductible donation today.