Hello, All! As you know, at Bailing Out Benji we are dedicated to helping puppy mill dogs in various ways…. One of which is by outing puppy mills and the pet stores they sell to. If you have been following our educational efforts at all, you will have seen that we have been protesting one pet store, Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, in Ames, Iowa for almost 4 years now. Dyvig’s hasadmitted to buying puppies from two puppy mills here in Iowa. While we have a presence in front of the store every Saturday and Sunday (with surprise weekday protests sprinkled in), we have stepped up our game for Puppy Mill Awareness Month. Our #ThirtyDaysThirtyProtests campaign is back for the month of September and we have been able to reach a lot of new people with our message. Most days, it is hard to see the direct fruits of our efforts… But other days, we are given the best “thanks”. Today is that day.
Bailing Out Benji receives dozens of emails and private messages every day, not to mention all of the comments of support and shares. Tonight, however, we received a very special message. A woman, who unknowingly supported a puppy mill, by purchasing from New Design Kennels. After the first puppy she purchased from NDK died after only 7 months from an intestinal disease, her boyfriend purchased a second one. For $100 off the normal price, for their inconvenience of losing the first one. Sadly, the second dog wasn’t much healthier. He had to undergo a very expensive surgery for IVDD, a genetic disorder in which trauma to the spinal cord results from hardening of the spinal disks. Because of this woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, we were given a link to the blog written by the owner of New Design Kennels, Nancy Carlson, and we are SO excited to be sharing her words with you tonight.
Her full blog can be readhere, but we thought a point by point breakdown of her arguments was a little more fitting because, as you all know, the facts don’t lie. So here we go! “Sex, Lies, and New Design Kennel” (Screenshots have been taken directly from her blog.
Well, let’s be real. Nancy Carlson and I have been in the room together at least three times. The first time she was auctioning off her dogs. Dogs that were missing eyes, limbs and were visibly ill. She transported them to the auction in a trailer meant for a car. It was truly one of the most horrifying experiences I have ever had. The second time, I had the pleasure of defending our puppy mill awareness PSA against her, Rob Hurd and the owner of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, Dale Dyvig. She embarrassed herself in front of a room full of businessmen by claiming that I have invisible drones that fly over her property and that I threaten to rape her in the same cages that she rapes her dogs in (her words…. because… yuck.) And the final time, Nancy was- again- at a puppy mill auction. This time, buying more dogs to breed.
Also, Bailing Out Benji started long before I ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with Nancy Carlson.
In the many years of operating the kennel, I am the ONLY person who has ever complained. Really? Can anyone name a business that has 100% customer satisfaction anywhere? Then I will consider myself very lucky that the very first person that ever bought a sick puppy from New Design Kennels (bought two) and contacted me! Sadly, this just isn’t the case, and it isn’t even believable. And I am just going to put this here. Not only does Nancy Carlson operate New Design Kennels, but she runs a separate breeding website called “Illusion Japanese Chin” and even reputable breeders/ show breeders /breed enthusiasts know that something very shady is going on there. What kind of reputable breeder needs more than one name?!
Hmmm…. Not only have I personally helped rescue dogs in horrid conditions that came straight out of puppy mills, but we have ALL seen those photos. Dogs that are completely matted, dogs that are too old, dogs with open wounds… These conditions have all been backed up by USDA inspections in which the inspectors cite these violations. Those dogs are all still breeding. Being “in the mood” doesn’t matter to animals when they are in heat. You can see some of those reports here, thanks to the 2015 Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill List
As Nancy said in her own blog earlier, ” a set of predator-drone flyover photos of our property several years ago”. The photos that Bailing Out Benji has of New Design Kennels ARE of their property, she admitted it in her own blog. Never once did we say that the cages were too small, sadly, they are more spacious than some puppy mills, but the dogs are forced to live on wire their entire lives. I will let you see those photos for yourself… And you can decide.
So…. Again…. Do YOU think that New Design Kennels is a puppy mill?
There ya have it, everyone! And that’s the truth!
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During the summer of 2013, Bailing Out Benji assisted a small group with weekly protests in front of Critter Nation in Webster City, Iowa after we found out that he is using the same two breeders that Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe in Ames, Iowa uses. In retaliation to the weekly protests, the store decided to post this very professional statement on their facebook wall.
Before these protests began, one of the women in charge of the events went in to Mike to talk about his breeders and the impending protests. Mike (the owner) claimed that he had never even visited one of them! Yet he “knows” they are reputable breeders. He confirmed that the breeders he uses are Century Farm Puppies in Grundy Center, Iowa and New Design Kennels in Rockwell City, Iowa.
They aren’t. So, Mike and the rest of the folks at Critter Nation, before you claim that we are slandering “people”, please read here about the PUPPY MILLS that you are supporting. This is the research that you should have educated yourself with, all of it comes straight off of the USDA website. Maybe now you will think twice about selling puppy mills puppies in your store.
And here is how the store reacted to the protesters in front of their store.
CENTURY FARM PUPPIES in GRUNDY CENTER, IOWA
Before anyone asks, I have been to this puppy mill and personally rescued a dog from them. While their website paints a beautiful picture of their farm and talks of how they are the best kennel in the state, their past USDA reports scream a different story.
Below are a few of the violations that they have had in the past which include: a build up of days old feces, on all of the flat surfaces of their buildings there was severe buildup of hair, dirt and other debris (which affected approximately 532 dogs at the time!!) Again, see for yourself. These are screenshots of the USDA reports.
Century Farm Puppies has been downgrading in recent years due to public pressure and the fact that more people are “waking up” about puppy mills. In recent years they had over 500 adult dogs on their property, which is an insane amount of dogs to care for. Yes, during that time period, Critter Nation was using them as a breeder.
NEW DESIGN KENNELS, ROCKWELL CITY, IOWA
Nancy and Tom Carlson of New Design Kennels are very deep in the puppy mill world. Not only do they have a huge puppy mill of their own, they run under TWO names so the public doesn’t see that they breed several breeds of dogs (New Design Kennel and Illusion Japanese Chin) but they sell their unwanted dogs at terribledog auctions.Most recently, In May, Nancy and Tom helped out at another dog auction that I attended. These “reputable breeders” have no problem breeding dogs that aren’t healthy. If you read the article above, you will note that many of her dogs were missing teeth, eyes and had open wounds AT THE AUCTION! Below shows you an approximate number of dogs that she sells on her property and, below that, we highlight some of her violations.
Did we mention that Nancy Carlson is an active member of the Iowa Pet Breeders Association? She works on the legislative end to make sure that laws aren’t passed that will hurt breeding facilities like the one pictured above.
The world is waking up and seeing the pet store/puppy mill connection. It is important that the public understands where those cute pet store puppies are really coming from.
I did something that I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for since I started Bailing Out Benji… A small group of friends and I drove almost two hours to attend a puppy mill auction in Vail, Iowa. Thankfully, K-D Kennels owned by Dean and Karen Grell is officially OUT OF BUSINESS. After years of bad USDA reports, they are leaving the business. Sadly for all of their 240 dogs (and a few puppies), they were being auctioned off like property instead of going to rescues. Please read my story, share it, and reach out if you have any questions!
This was a very intimidating experience, for sure. Walking on to this property that I had read so many awful things about, not knowing if I will be kicked out immediately, or if I will be hauled away because I couldn’t keep my comments to myself. The thoughts were rolling around in my head, and I knew I had to try to keep them from crossing on to my face. I was horrified at the place. It was like hell on earth. There were several buildings that were not much more than sheds with runs on the sides of them. Most of her “kennels” were in semi trailers that had been turned into a giant dog house with out-door access. By that, I mean that she has wire cages that are lifted off of the ground, as you can see in the photo. Notice the poor dogs standing on the wire bottom flooring. The auctioneer, Bob Hughes fromSouth West Auction Service, even commented on the grounds. His phrasing was, “Folks, this kennel here is average. I am not gonna say its great. On a scale of one to ten, it is a five. But you won’t find a lick of dirt or a smell. And you aren’t buying the kennel, you are buying the dog. And these dogs are a ten.” As you read on, you will find that these dogs that are a “ten” have many external issues (not to mention the internal ones).
As I walked passed all of the helpless dogs and into the big steel barn, I saw many people who I recognized by name and face… We had Mr. Bob Hughes, the auctioneer who claims to auction off 22,000 dogs per year, Mr. Rob Hurd who is a past presidentof the Iowa Pet Breeders Associationand he also works with theAmerica’s Pet Registry(which is notoriously used by backyard breeders and puppy mill owners), Larry Albrecht from Cold Water Kennels, Shirley Hershey fromTLC Kennels in Pennsylvania, a representative from MWI Veterinary Supply, a person from America’s Premier Pets in Missouri, and so many Amish Families including the Yoders and the Yamisons. There were around 700 people in attendance- needless to say, we were in a room full of evil and we had to keep our mouths shut.
As we walked in to this run-down steel barn, we were all given an 18 page packet with a list of the dogs that would be going on sale. This included their birth dates (if known), color of dog, “name” of dog, the last known pups, and whether or not the dog could possibly be pregnant. Seeing all of the dogs that needed saved was very overwhelming, but we looked at the book and picked the dogs that we thought needed the most help. When the auction officially started, the items being sold were the water bowls, some cage doors, and other little things like that. I was just observing the crowd until I saw them place a giant Styrofoam cooler on the table. Bob and his helper, Christine Strobietto, began cutting away the tape to reveal a huge pile of unopened vaccines. Bob said that there were 100 unopened boxes of vaccines that expired in September of 2011 and that “they would be good for another two to three years”. As the bidding started, he repeatedly prompted the crowd, saying that they could “vaccinate their entire kennel at 1/4 the price.” The whole scene was sickening. Not only have the Grell’s been in trouble with the USDA for using expired medications, but I was in an entire room of breeders that were cut-throat bidding just to get their hands on these vaccines that had been outdated. As disgusted as I was, this was only the beginning of my nightmare.
Once the dogs were thrown on that auction table, we knew that the stakes were pretty high. First the Shih-tzus were up and they were going for upwards of $1000. Quicker than anything, we were going through these dogs. The auctioneer decided to do more of a “Dutch” style auction, where there were five of one type and the highest bidder can take his pick, take a few, or take the lot. Then the second highest bidder was offered a chance, after that the bidding would start all over again. I think this was done to try to deter the rescues from being able to get even a handful of animals. While the bidding was going on, I did notice four guys in the back of the room who were all dressed pretty similarly. They were bidding on dogs, but never took a dog home. I feel like they were there to drive the prices up, if they noticed rescue “type” people bidding. Sadly, the game was on and we were the underdogs…
As the poor animals came and went, you could see the terror on their faces. They were visibly shaken and terrified. At one point in time, Bob Hughes stopped the auction to show the volunteers how to properly show these dogs. This involved grabbing them by the base of the tail and yanking them upward, while holding their chin up. This was a very uncomfortable experience for the dogs. I have seen it done at dog shows, and this was nothing like that…. At one point in time, I had to leave the room because there was an Italian Greyhound screaming at the top of its lungs. It had deformed toes (several were chewed off) and just being placed on the table was excruciating. I had never heard a dog make those sounds before. It took everything I had to stop myself from running up to that table and grabbing that dog. I know that Rob Hurd would have loved that though. Further proof that all of us animal lovers are “AR”s and extremists. Even Rob got onto the floor and helped with the auctioning. He would hold up the six-week old puppies and show them off to the crowd, as Bob stated that. “they have their entire breeding lives ahead of them.” At one point in the auction, I watched Rob sarcastically salute to a dog as it was whisked away to its new home. This made me absolutely sick. Moms with puppies were going for $2500.
There were 348 dogs up for auction from the Grell’s and another breeder, Nancy Carlson fromNew Designs kenneland Illusion Japanese Chin. This number doesn’t include puppies that they “threw in” with the price of the mom. Most of these dogs were in pretty bad shape. You could tell that they had recently groomed the dogs a little, most were shaved down- but they all still smelled pretty badly. That being said, the auctioneer was very honest and up front with what was wrong with the dogs, but he threw in the disclaimer that everything will be sold as is.
Let’s see, there were dogs with:
Missing teeth or NO teeth (this is applicable to most of the dogs), broken jaws, soft jaws, three legs, many dogs were missing toes (one only had a single toe on each back foot), a Shiba had a badly broken back leg that hadn’t been fixed (so it was curled up and deformed under its body), many of the males one had a single testicle, there were a dozen or so dogs that had open umbilical hernias on their stomachs (that were the size of a pen hole), other dogs had closed hernias, a few dogs had “tick sized” knots on their backs (according to the auctioneer), missing eyes, spots on their eyes, cloudy eyes, under bites, and over bites. Word to the wise, if the dogs have this many problems on the outside, they are a mess on the inside.
None of this matters in the world of puppy mills, however. These were all products… property to be used, abused, and profited from. When referring to the age of the dogs, Bob and Christine would refer to them as an ” ’08 model” , like it was a car. I distinctly remember them auctioning off a Bichon saying, “She may be an ’03 model, but she’s got plenty of litters left in her”. The whole scene was sickening. These dogs (the sick and injured) were going for thousands of dollars. It was tough to watch and impossible to bid against. I overheard an Amish couple talking about how these prices were the highest they had seen them in years. But why? Just a week ago at an auction in Missouri, they were giving away Shih-tzus for $1 but 6 days later they are worth $500 or more?
Once the equipment sale was going on outside, the room cleared considerably. It was pretty easy to tell who the breeders were, and who the rescuers were. Not that it made any difference to the auctioneer. Money was money- and competition was his paycheck. The most expensive dog that day went for over $3000, less than 20 dogs went for under $100, a few were between $100 and $200, but most were $750 and up. A very sad day for the dogs.
In the end, we were able to save a handful of lives, and I saw a few other rescues walking out with precious souls as well. This article isn’t dedicated to those that we saved… It is dedicated to those poor dogs that are being recycled into a worse life. I had to watch the Amish load their vehicles and it was sickening. Three to four dogs thrown into a travel cage- no food, no water, no blanket. who knows how long they would be in their tiny vans. And if you know anything about Amish puppy mills, they are the worst. The dogs often live in completely darkness and are badly abused.
Puppy mills are legal. Dogs auctions are legal. We need to educate or friends, family, and coworkers, as well as elect officials into office that will help us stop these atrocities.
Now that I have been to this auction, I am forever changed. I saw so many evil people who use animals for profit and I have lost a lot of respect for humanity. Thankfully, there are a few amazing angels out there that are willing to rescue animals from these (and other) situations. If this story hit home for you, please remember to share it with anyone that you know. Please, SHARE THIS ARTICLE, spread the word and help us educate as many people as we can reach!
Remember to always adopt, instead of shop for your next pet.
EDITORS NOTE: Since this first auction in 2012, I have been to several more auctions. Some better, some worse than the one above. My feelings on the subject have never changed and I have certainly learned more about attending. Now our organization works hard to raise funds for upcoming auctions in order to save as many lives as possible! And we work with other rescues to ensure that they have a safe place to go afterwards.
Since photos were not allowed on premises, I have added photos from around the country of puppy mills and puppy mill auctions.