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 focuses that Bailing Out Benji has 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, Becky Busboom. Becky runs a brokering company out of Dannebrog, Nebraska and sells to pet stores all over the country including (but not limited to); Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, and Virginia. The tricky part with the secretive puppy mill industry is that the CVIs are only needed when a puppy is crossing state lines. So Busboom’s name is on those documents when a pet store gets the puppy- not the actual breeder. This is where we come in! Below you will find a list of all of the known puppy mills that Becky Busboom buys from before she brokers the puppies to pet stores from coast to coast.
I do want to note that Busboom is no reputable person herself. In fact, she was given a violation by the USDA for giving pig medications to puppies in her care, even though that clearly goes against the limited regulations of the Animal Welfare Act.
As it turns out, Busboom is also not picky about where she obtains her puppies for resale. In fact, Busboom sources puppies from puppy mills that have been named the worst in the nation no fewer than 8 times. Below you will find the breeders that Busboom sourced from in 2017 and 2018 (that we know of)
- AG Beukelman, J Michaels Kennels. Sioux Center, Iowa- 95 adult breeding dogs, with a history of violations including: excessively rusted cages, wires broken and poking into kennels, build up of dirt/grime, excessively chewed bowls, dogs withuntreated eye problems, and dead mice found floating in dogs’ drinking water. Although Beukelman is a veterinarian himself, he is known as one of the worst puppy mills in the country.
- Julie Nelson, Nelson Farms. Fairfield, Iowa- 75 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: very sick Shih-tzus, not having a veterinarian on site for over a
year, and having severely chewed/jagged water bowls.
- Dave Ruter, Sioux Center, Iowa- 55 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: Excessively rusty doors/cages, filthy kennels, excessively chewedwalls, unsafe kennels.
- Gary and Elaine Vande Weerd, Vande Weerd Kennels. Sioux Center, Iowa- 27 adult breeding dogs.
- Gary Felts, Black Diamond Kennel. Kingsley, Iowa- 183 adult breeding dogs (before he auctioned them all off) with a long history of violations including: dogs noted with eye issues, excessively rusty kennels/cages, metal feeders/waterers that are rusted, exposed screws in kennels, excessively chewed wood, standing water in buildings, no wind/rain break, excessive feces in whelping rooms, “Records on hand” not completed, severely rusted pens, excessively chewed pens, dust/dirt/debris/grime buildup in pens, sharp points in all of the kennels, big holes in the floors (dogs legs are passing through, even bodies). The USDA put him on a 3 year probation in 2016, and Felts was named one of the worst puppy mills in the country in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2013.
- Helen and Scott Ketelsen, Hull Iowa- 129 adult breeding dogs.
- Tara Hansen, Doon Iowa- unable to access records.
- Pam Habbinga, Habbinga Kennels. Boyden, Iowa- 111 adult breeding dogs with violations including: cracked cement in kennels that cannot be cleaned or sanitized.
- Tabitha Bakker, Hawarden Iowa- unable to access records.
- Heidi or Megan Johnston, Murray Iowa- unable to access records.
- Judy and Steve Thiesse, TZ Kennel. Mitchell, South Dakota- 21 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: Rusted wire and tin poking into dog kennels and run areas.
- Nancy Ogle, Irene South Dakota- 51 adult breeding dogs (down from 85) and close to 100 puppies on site, with a history of violations including: missed inspections, filthy kennel conditions, dogs in need of veterinary care, dogs with eye issues, dogs with dental disease, and excessive brown grime in kennels. Ogle was named one of the worst puppy mills in the country in 2017.
- Pat Crabtree, Crabtree Kennels. Saint Francis, Kansas- 195 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: not having puppies vaccinated for dangerous diseases, dogs with severe dental disease, dogs with eye issues, dogs with ear infections and wounds on their body. Crabtree was also named one of the worst puppy mills in 2015 and 2014 and has a history of changing her license number to hide from her violations.
- Cindy Sherlock, Furry Friends Kennel. St Francis, Kansas- 40 adult breeding dogs.
- Tom Vaassen, Lancaster Wisconsin- 22 adult breeding dogs.
- Jeanna Johnston, Coalgate Oklahoma- unable to access dog records.
Once the broker receives the puppies, they are then resold and transported 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.
** 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.
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