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.
As you can see this puppy was not only born at a 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.
Again, not only is Skyline View LLC a huge 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.
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.
- Amos Yoder, Skyline View LLC, St Charles, Minnesota- 111 adult breeding dogs, 89 puppies. Has a habit of skipping inspections
- 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.
- Leroy Yoder, Pleasant View Kennels. Saint Charles Minnesota- 76 adult breeding dogs, 142 puppies.
- Toby F Detweiler, Hidden Hollow Kennels. Saint Charles, Minnesota- 37 adult breeding dogs
- John Henry Miller, Utica Minnesota- 45 adult breeding dogs.
- Henry Yoder, Utica, Minnesota- 47 adult breeding dogs
- David D Yoder Jr. Utica, Minnesota- 49 adult breeding dogs.
- Leon Troyer, Jamesport Missouri- unable to access records.
- Phil Hoover, Memphis Missouri- 364 adult breeding dogs.
- Betty Fetters, Fetters Furry Friends. Novinger, Missouri- 118 adult breeding dogs.
- 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.
- Joseph Detweiler, Cedar View Kennel. Princeton, Missouri- 56 adult breeding dogs.
- Stephen Detweiler, Princeton Missouri- unable to access records.
- Reuben Yutzy, Little Paw Kennels. Jamesport, Missouri- 57 adult breeding dogs.
- Samuel and Rachel Mast, Trenton Missouri- unable to access records
- Devon Schlabach, Honey Locust Kennel. Princeton Missouri- 52 adult breeding dogs
- Daniel Yoder, Yoder Kennel. Princeton Missouri- 65 adult breeding dogs
- Dave and Janet Lovland, Loveland Kennels. Atlanta (Macon), Missouri- unable to access records.
- 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.
- Ura Troyer, Countryside Kennels. Bethany Missouri- unable to access records
- Justin Horst, Edina Missouri- unable to access records.
- Ammon Herschberger, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records.
- Anna Mae Good, Playful Puppies. Rutledge, Missouri- 83 adult breeding dogs.
- Toby Herschberger, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records.
- Jonas Hostetler, Jamesport Missouri- 11 adult breeding dogs
- Andy Zook, Spickard Missouri- unable to access records.
- Randall & Sheree Bonnette – Chillicothe, Missouri- 125 adult breeding dogs
- Audrey Reiff, Arbela Missouri- unable to access records.
- Sam Schwartz, Autumn View Farm. La Plata, Missouri- 28 adult breeding dogs