Data on the Decline

©Bailing Out Benji 2021

All research and information was done by the team at Bailing Out Benji  and must be cited as such when shared or quoted!

Written by Mindi Callison

 

The Juxtaposition Between Data and Testimony

Since 2006 advocates across the country have been working hard to pass humane ordinances in their cities, counties and states that prohibit pet stores from partnering with animal mills for puppy, kitten and sometimes rabbit sales. To date, more than 375 localities and 3 states have passed similar language with even more working on the issue in 2021. 

The pet store and commercial dog breeding industry regularly attends these council meetings and state bill hearings to defend their business practices and one of their main talking points has been that humane ordinances  “haven’t shut down a single puppy mill“. Of course, their definition of puppy mill is vastly different than the definition that advocates use.

The pet industry- which includes employees, owners and lobbyists for pet stores and commercial breeders- always testifies that they believe puppy mills are unlicensed, unregulated breeders, while advocates stick to the definition that a puppy mill is any commercial breeding facility that puts the profit over the welfare of the animals. Clearly, the two definitions are at odds with each other because the pet industry relies heavily on USDA and state licensed breeders, no matter how many breeding animals are kept onsite or how many violations the facilities have. 

Definition differences aside, the pet industry isn’t looking at licenses or data when they routinely tell policy makers that none of these humane ordinances have shut down a single puppy mill. If they did, they would be telling a different story.

Before we dig in, we do want to make an editor’s note:

Over the last decade, the public has become increasingly more aware of the puppy mill industry. More families are researching before they buy, they are avoiding puppy-selling stores, they are demanding stronger breeding/licensing laws in their own states, and they are pushing for humane ordinances. Not any one thing can point to the downfall of this industry, but the holistic approach of education, advocacy and policy is a huge part in ending the puppy mill industry once and for all.

The Data on the Decline

In 2008, the USDA issued 4228 class A licenses and 1067 class B license to companion animal breeders- 5,295 licenses total. Comparatively, in 2021 the USDA issued 2035 class A licenses and 762 class B licenses- 3,697 total. This shows a 30% decrease in active USDA licensed breeders and brokers over the last 13 years. 

While there is a small fluctuation each year in federal and state licensees, the overall trend is showing that more commercial dog and cat breeders are not only going out of business, but many of the worst puppy mills have either been shut down or downsized greatly. 

A few examples are below: 

Horrible Hundred puppy mill owner Steve Kruse (Stonehenge Kennels. West Point, Iowa 42-B-0182) had over 940 adult breeding dogs in 2014 and has downsized to 670 adult breeding dogs in 2021. Kruse routinely sells puppies to pet stores and is still in operation. 

Kimberly Coleman (TLC Kennels. Clinton, Missouri. 43-A-4973) had over 212 adult breeding dogs in 2014 and was a repeat Horrible Hundred puppy mill offender. After years of violations, public pressure and the inability to partner with many stores due to violations, Coleman auctioned off all of her animals in 2019 and closed her breeding facility.  Coleman routinely sold puppies to pet stores in California among other states. California passed a statewide ordinance that went into effect in 2019. 

Gary Felts (Black Diamond Kennels. Kingsley, Iowa. 42-A-0757) had over 276 adult breeding dogs in 2014 and had downsized to 153 adult breeding dogs in 2017. After years of Federal violations and public pressure, Felts closed his breeding facility and auctioned off all of his dogs in 2017. Felts routinely sold puppies to pet stores. 

We have also seen a decline in licensed dog brokers. As fewer stores are offering puppies and kittens for sale, the need for middle men has decreased as well.  A few of the most notable examples include: 

David Steffensmeier (Jeannie’s Gems. West Point, Iowa. 42-B-0298) routinely sold puppies and kittens to pet stores all over the country. Steffensmeier cancelled his license in 2019. 

Sham rescues Rescue Pets Iowa and Hobo K9 rescue were ordered to shut down by the Iowa Attorney General after our investigation linked them to puppy broker JAKS Puppies (Jolyn Noethe. Britt, Iowa 42-B-0271). These two entities were created to broker puppies to stores in cities and states where it was prohibited; proving that these ordinances do affect the puppy mill industry. California and Chicago were the main targets, as both passed ordinance language that prevented breeders from selling through stores.

In addition to our own findings on this decline in licensed breeders, a 2019 report from the Omaha World Herald echoed our research. According to the article:

 “Nebraska Department of Agriculture records show that half of the state’s commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business over the past seven years. The decline was particularly sharp between June 30, 2018, when there were 216 state-licensed breeders, and the same date this year, when the number was down to 138.”

Two USDA and Nebraska state licensed breeders were quoted in the article stating that they “blame rising overhead costs, laws limiting pet store sales and competition from animal rescue organizations.” Clem Disterhaupt (Sandhills Kennels. Stuart, Nebraska. 47-A-0427) also stated that “Midwest breeders were hurt by a California law that banned pet stores from selling commercially bred puppies, kittens and rabbits.”

What does the research say? 

Industry leaders also echo this trend. According to a recent report from IBIS World Dog and Pet Breeders Industry:

“The Dog and Pet Breeders industry has been subject to a moderate level of revenue volatility over the past five years. Recent efforts to regulate the industry and fight against puppy mills have contributed to strong revenue declines.”

To Read the full IBIS World report click here.

Thanks to this research and graphic below from the IBIS World Report, you can see the states with the highest concentration of puppy-selling pet stores. This falls in line with the data we have been collecting on stores.

Currently in 2021, humane pet store bills are being heard on the state level in Washington, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York (among others). California’s state ban went into effect in 2019 and was cleaned up in 2020.  These states are the ones who are importing the most puppies from Midwest USDA commercial breeders (puppy mills) and are trying to stop this pipeline from happening. Because many of the largest commercial breeders and brokers are selling to these stores, they will have vastly fewer outlets to sell puppies through and will have to either change their business models, downsize their kennels or close. 

 

Throwing data and facts aside allows the pet industry to make the claim that no puppy mills are feeling the effect of these ordinances so they can plant a seed of doubt in the minds of policy makers in order to prevent humane laws from being passed. 

In order to correct that narrative, our nonprofit wanted to share our research and industry reports regarding commercial breeder licensing over the last few years. Contrary to what the pet industry is saying, puppy mills are closing down, advocacy efforts are working and the entire industry is on the decline. 

We strongly encourage advocates to keep working on humane ordinances, keep working on state bills pertaining to pet stores and continue fighting for more regulation on the commercial dog breeding industry. The trends are in our favor and the future is humane. 

 

©Bailing Out Benji 2021

All research and information was done by the team at Bailing Out Benji  and must be cited as such when shared or quoted!

Bailing Out Benji is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that researches and investigates the commercial dog and cat breeding industry and tracks the sale of animals as they move to pet stores and online customers.

If you would like to donate to help us continue our important work, please click on the button below. 

 

Follow our efforts on social media

A look back on 2020

2020 has been rough all around for so many of us. Since March all of our educational events and in-person fundraisers have been cancelled, donations were way down and puppy sales across the country were way up.

Even with all of those set-backs, we had some truly wonderful ‘wins’ as we fought for the companion animals who are trapped in commercial mills across the country. 

We released this year-end review as a bonus episode of our podcast “Truth, Lies and Puppy Mills” . If you would rather watch or listen  you can get a small taste of our podcast while listening to Nicole, Ashly and Mindi discuss our 2020 review! 

 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation in order to help us continue our important work in 2021 and beyond. 

 

RESEARCH FOR THE WIN! 

 

One of our proudest ‘wins’ of the year is that the Iowa Attorney General investigated and shut down two sham rescues that our research exposed. Hobo K9 Rescue and Rescue Pets Iowa were shell businesses for infamous puppy mill broker, JAKS Puppies, who was illegally laundering commercially bred puppies to pet stores in cities where that has been outlawed. Our research has been instrumental in holding these sham organizations accountable, as well as the pet stores who are breaking the law. Shortly after this ruling, the state of California passed a stronger statewide bill that good rid of the loophole which allowed pet stores to source from sham rescues. 

Our research also uncovered a two-time horrible hundred puppy mill in Ohio that started their own sham rescue in order to skirt the law in Maryland, as well as selling their rescue puppies online. We filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office in various states in order to prompt an investigation. 

Our research into Arizona pet stores also prompted a huge investigation after we exposed a prolific pet store chain for breaking the state law by selling puppies who came from puppy mills with violations. The pet stores “Animal Kingdom” and “Puppies N Love” have purchased hundreds of dogs from puppy mills cited for health problems and are breaking state and federal regulations. 

Lastly, we also exposed dangerous transports that were happening during the height of the pandemic, as well as pet stores and puppy mills who received millions of dollars in federal PPP assistance. 

 

31 HUMANE ORDINANCES PASSED!

Nationwide 31 humane ordinances were passed so far this year and our research and volunteers were instrumental in passing many of those. A few of the biggest ordinances passed were: 

-Naperville, Illinois-  this affected two puppy-selling stores who have to go humane or close by January 1, 2021. 

-Whitewater, Wisconsin- this was the FIRST humane ordinance in the state of Wisconsin and our volunteer team lead the way for this win for the dogs. 

-San Antonio, Texas , Kitsap County, Washington and Olympia, Washington were also huge wins that affected puppy-selling pet stores.

 

WORLD’S CUTEST RESCUE DOG!

People Magazine crowned Lamb Chop the puppy mill survivor as the “World’s Cutest Rescue Dog”. Lamb Chop is one of the ‘spokespups’ of our Wisconsin team and she is using her freedom to educate about this cruel industry! Her story traveled the world and educated millions of people about the puppy mill industry. Her mom, Christin, gave amazing interviews to countless news outlets and did a wonderful job educating about puppy mills and all that we do at Bailing Out Benji. 

 

TRUTH, LIES AND PUPPY MILLS-

THE PODCAST! 

We started a brand new podcast in order to continue our educational efforts virtually. This platform gives us the ability to extensively cover various facets of the puppy mill industry in a relatable way, while keeping it conversational and light hearted. With only 7 episodes released at the time of this article being written, we already have over 2,200 listeners!  

Your hosts are Nicole Galvan (Arizona), Ashly Dale (Washington) and Mindi Callison (Iowa) and they release episodes each week where they lift the curtain on the secrets and hidden players within the puppy mill industry while sharing the knowledge we have gained on this industry over the last decade. 

 

3.6 MILLION PEOPLE REACHED IN

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER!

Last year we released theater ads and billboards nationwide to educate Holiday shoppers, but because most of the country is hunkered down we decided to pivot and do a huge educational push virtually.

We have released our 30 second commercial on Hulu and it is currently running in cities with pet stores that sell puppies. We also released ads on the Exactly Right Podcast network, which hosts one of the most popular true crime podcasts across the country “My Favorite Murder” , and we ran targeted online ads in cities that have stores that sell puppies.

Our targeted reach is over 3.6 million people across the country and we have already heard from many new advocates who saw or heard our ads, learned about our mission and wanted to get involved. 

 

None of this would have been possible without our amazing team of more than 200 volunteers across the country. These amazing advocates are working tirelessly to create change for the animals in their own communities and states and we are so thankful to have their dedication and passion helping us move towards a future with no more puppy mills. 

 

We are also eternally grateful to our supporters who have been able to still donate to our nonprofit even though this year has been tough. Your help and support during an extremely rough year has helped us with our research and educational efforts against the puppy mill industry.

We want to thank a few of the amazing businesses that have stepped up to support us in a huge way this year.  

East Village Spa , Iowa Home Consulting , Wholesome Pet Essentials ,  Scratchpad Tees, Lillybug Designs by TJ , Pawparazzi Photography , Webber Designs , and Two Beers Brewing Company

2020 was extremely hard on our nonprofit. Our events were cancelled, our fundraisers and annual gala were all cancelled and many of our recurring donors had to pause their help due to issues they were facing this year. 

Please consider making a year-end donation to help us continue our important work fighting puppy mills across the country. We can’t do this without you. 

Holding AZ Pet Stores Accountable

This is part two in our series detailing an investigation from Animal Wellness Action and Bailing Out Benji. For part one, please read all the way to the end of this article. 

 

Arizona law prohibits pet stores from purchasing puppies from breeders with recent and severe violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act on their record. Yet, five pet stores in Arizona called “Puppies ‘N Love” and “Animal Kingdom” have done exactly that. 

Owner Frank Mineo insisted that his pet stores “continue to scrutinize inspection reports on our breeders and make them available in our stores” in a 2017 news release


Yet, investigators with Bailing Out Benji and Animal Wellness Action have unearthed evidence to the contrary. The Mineos’ business seems to have purchased more than 220 puppies from two separate breeders cited for direct violations by Animal Care inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

In recent years – due to a shift in priorities at the USDA – the agency has handed out relatively few violations of any kind.  Direct violations are the most egregious type of violations, where the lives of animals are at immediate risk; and according to this Washington Post article, the trend toward not issuing citations is evident in the numbers.  In 2017, inspectors recorded 331 direction violations, and in 2018, that number had dropped more than 60 percent to just 128. So, to find two different breeders with direct violations is especially troubling given how uncommon it is.

Arizona’s state law also requires that pet stores clearly label all puppies with the breeder name, state of origin, and the USDA breeder license as well. Our investigators uncovered dozens of instances where the labeling was incorrect or incomplete, making it that much harder for the unsuspecting public to research the origins of their potential new family member.

Puppies from these dog factories have a higher incidence of illness, genetic health problems, and a lack of socialization, making them higher risk for those planning to add companion animals to their families. And that’s just the tip of this iceberg.

Federal Violations 

The Federal Animal Welfare Act stipulates that commercial enterprises that house animals be licensed and inspected by the USDA on a regular basis. The AWA requires “intermediate handler” licenses for anyone “taking custody of regulated animals in connection with transporting them on public carriers” and anyone “engaged in any business in which he receives custody of animals in connection with their transportation in commerce.”

Pet stores are exempt from this licensing requirement because pet stores are specifically “a place with the puppy, buyer, and seller all meet.”

However, in the case of this pet store franchise in Arizona, all puppies bought by this organization are shipped to a distribution center and held there, prior to shipment to the stores themselves. The puppies are confined in a truck for days on end as they travel across the country. They may stay in the distribution center for a short period of time before being sent to the stores, or they may stay longer if they are deemed unfit for purchase. Some of the puppies are sick or exhausted from travel and may need veterinary care. 

This particular distribution center is not licensed as an intermediate handler, and as such, is not subject to the routine USDA inspections it should have to ensure compliance with the Federal Animal Welfare Act.

In a second act of non-compliance with Federal law, the Mineo family also proudly proclaims that they take their puppies to nursing homes and universities for promotional purposes. There are images and videos of these stores’ activities on Facebook that detail their visits to nursing homes and colleges, allowing residents and students to interact and play with the puppies. In order to be in compliance with the federal law, this business would need an exhibitor’s license, which it currently does not have.

Animal Wellness Action and Bailing Out Benji have submitted a complaint to the USDA, requesting that the business come into compliance with the necessary licenses and be subject to USDA inspection. We will fight tooth and claw to ensure these puppies are defended and that those breaking the law are held accountable. 

Stay tuned next week to learn more about the specific enforcement problems with this Arizona law. 

Click the button below if you would like to sign up to receive alerts and calls to action regarding our investigation. 

 

Drafted by Lain Kahlstrom and Tina Meredith of Animal Wellness Action and  Nicole Galvan of Bailing Out Benji. 

 November 11, 2020 

For much of the past year, Animal Wellness Action and Bailing Out Benji have been working together to encourage law enforcement to take action against the largest chain of pet stores in the state of Arizona. The newspaper AZ Central highlighted our investigation in September and by October of this year, law enforcement officers entered the pet store’s establishment in order to request and inspect the records that would likely prove the stores are in violation of the state law. 

But how did we get to this point? What did it take to get a police investigation started?  Over the next four weeks, we will be laying out our investigation and highlighting the work it takes to save the lives of the pet store puppies and the parents who are still trapped back at the puppy mills.

One of the thousands of CVIs that Bailing Out Benji obtains that help us trace puppies as they move from puppy mill to pet store.

Pet stores around the country have been under increasing amounts of scrutiny and pressure in recent years, due to the fact that the horrors of puppy mills that supply these stores have become more widely publicized and the documentation connecting pet stores across the country to the puppy mills they source from is more readily available.  Puppy mills are essentially “dog farms” that churn out as many puppies as possible, and they’re infamous for cruel and inhumane conditions.  But, the USDA standards are minimal, and it has been uncommon for breeders to be cited for violations since early 2017.  

The situation is so dire that over 350 cities and 3 states have implemented versions of a humane ordinance that  prevents pet stores from getting their “products” from puppy mills, instead requiring that they source their animals strictly from shelters.

Arizona itself is home to a small number of puppy-selling stores, five of which are owned and operated by one family.  As the public’s knowledge and distaste for puppy mills increased, the city of Phoenix responded by passing a local ordinance to ban pet stores from selling puppies from puppy mills in 2013. Shortly afterwards, the city of Tempe followed suit and also passed an ordinance. Tucson was on track to do the same when the Arizona State Legislature, at the behest of pet store owners, intervened.

That’s right- the owners of Arizona’s largest puppy-store chain urged the State Legislature to stop the onslaught of local ordinances.. They found a friend in State Representative Don Shooter, who helped them write and introduce legislation that preempted the city ordinances- nullifying the ones that were previously passed and stopping future efforts.

Public outcry was swift and loud.  In a largely symbolic effort to appease public opposition and get this bill signed into law, pet store owners and legislators negotiated to include some provisions on the sourcing of pet store puppies. Namely, the law stipulates that pet stores cannot purchase from breeders who have direct USDA violations within the previous two years. Pet store owners are also required to maintain two years’ worth of records, and make them open to inspection by law enforcement on request.  Additionally, pet stores must accurately label each puppy with information about the breeder, including their home state and their USDA license number, if applicable. That way, a potential buyer could research the breeder themselves to ensure they were “reputable” before purchase.

That state law became effective in January of 2016 with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey stating that the intent of this law was to “strengthen penalties for pet store owners who do not take measures to ensure that the animals under their care are from a licensed, safe, sanitary, and humane place.”

What could go wrong?

The Federal Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966, mandating minimal standards of care for breeding dogs. Those standards include allowing dogs to remain in their cages 24 hours a day, if the owner provides more space than the allotted  “6 inches” surrounding the dog’s body.  It is not required that the dogs are ever let outside of their cages if that cage size is met, and there is no limit on the number of years a dog can be confined and bred this way. This is man’s best friend; dogs who crave human interaction and attention, living in cages for the entirety of their lives. 

USDA inspectors are required to visit puppy mill facilities every 2-3 years to document any violations they see.  Those violations are then published on the USDA website for potential consumers to complete their own research prior to purchasing from a breeder.

However, during the early months of the Trump administration, two things happened that changed the expectations of inspectors and facility operators. 

First, USDA inspectors were directed to offer breeders more opportunities to correct deficiencies in their operations prior to being cited. Inspectors were instructed to use these occasions as “teachable moments” and allow breeders to maintain a clean license and record, despite flagrant deviations from the already minimal standards. After this change, it was documented that there were 60% fewer violations listed on reports. 

Next, in an unprecedented move, the USDA redacted much of the information on the its website, citing privacy concerns. Starting in early 2017, only a few months after Arizona’s state law went into effect, the public could no longer easily look up a breeder’s license and record.

Even with the records being taken down, Arizona’s pet store owners proudly declared they didn’t need the USDA website, because they personally visit the breeders themselves and have other avenues to ensure they do not have USDA violations on their record.  

It didn’t take long for the stores to forget the statement they made. 

Puppy-selling stores make their profits by purchasing puppies from puppy mills for a few hundred dollars and then turning around to sell them at an enormous mark-up. Because of this, animal advocates knew better than to expect a turn-around in the business practices of Arizona stores. Indeed, less than 3 years later, sufficient evidence was gathered showing hundreds of puppies had entered Arizona from breeders with violations; as such, violating Arizona’s state law repeatedly. 


That brings us back to our investigation and work to encourage law enforcement to protect these dogs from the abuse of some Arizona pet stores and the puppy mills they supply from.

To date, pet store owners have not turned over their complete records to law enforcement as the law stipulates. Thankfully, the cities who are tasked with enforcing this state law, are not giving in. 

Once violations are proven, cities are entitled to collect fines at a minimum and, if enough violations are documented, the cities can force the stores to stop selling puppies from breeders altogether, sourcing solely from shelters instead.  

We are working on this enforcement issue daily and will continue to keep you update on the news.

Click the button below if you would like to sign up to receive alerts and calls to action regarding our investigation. 

 

And if you are able, please consider making a donation to help cover the cost of the records we are pulling for this investigation. 

 

If you or someone you know bought a puppy from an Arizona pet store and you would like to know more about where it was born, please fill out the contact form below. 

 

2020 Holiday Puppy Mill Awareness Campaign

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 take the time to do the proper research. Because of this, we turn our focus to large 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. 

Last year, we reached over a million people through our theater ads and billboards that we released across the country! With our ads playing before Star Wars and Frozen 2, we were able to educate many different demographics that our in-person events might have missed. 

Due to Covid, the majority of families are staying at home this Holiday season and we have, once again, had to pivot our educational efforts in order to reach people where they are at. This year we are thrilled to announce our largest campaign yet. The first of which kicked off on November 1st. 

And we couldn’t be more excited to announce it….. 

That’s right!

Our 30 second animated PSA, which you can view here, will be playing on Hulu from November 1st until December 31st. In that time, our ad will reach 1 million devices. With Hulu being one of the largest streaming services across the country, we will no doubt be reaching whole families and potential puppy-buyers with our message. 

Because of our commitment to educating in a family-friendly manner, our ad has been approved for all ages and all streaming shows. This will have a huge impact on the puppy mill industry and we are extremely excited to share the news with you all. 

To support our non-profit organization and our mission to end the cruel puppy mill industry, click the button below. All donations are tax-deductible. 

 

Keep your eye on our social media channels for the announcement of our next two PSAs!

 

 

Remember: Puppy mills exist because the public is funding them. 

Help us educate the public about what puppy mills are, where they are, and how they are selling to consumers

If you are interested in donating to get these ads running in your city, please use the contact form below. 

Buyer Beware: “Dogs to the “Rescue” Ohio

Two-time horrible hundred puppy mill owner starts nonprofit rescue. 

©Bailing Out Benji 2020

We all know that puppy mills are shady; really shady. Besides making a living off of the suffering of living, breathing dogs, their job is to deceive the public. No one wants to support a puppy mill. Thanks to organizations like ours, we have made their lives a little harder in both aspects. Especially when it comes to exposing their business practices to the public. 

In recent years, it has become a trend for cities and states to pass legislation banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores from commercial breeders (puppy mills). Instead, these stores must get their puppies from rescues and shelters to help the homeless animals in their communities, as opposed to aiding in the pet overpopulation problem. That sounds wonderful, right? Bailing Out Benji has helped pass countless ordinances 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  501c3 “nonprofit”  “rescues” in order to still sell puppies in towns with retail bans and in order to deceive the public.

Our investigations into two sham rescues in Iowa ( Hobo K9 Rescue and Rescue Pets Iowa ) led to the Iowa Attorney General shutting them down, and our investigation into a sham Missouri rescue ( Pet Connect Rescue ) led to lawsuits and the passage of a stronger statewide bill in California. Our work is never done, it seems, as every time we help shut down one of these fake rescues, another one pops up. 

Meet the IRS nonprofit “Dogs to the Rescue” Ohio owned by Nathan and Sara Bazler, as well as Opal Mustain. 

Provided by the IRS

Provided by the State of Ohio

 

Provided by the State of Ohio 

 

“Dogs to the Rescue” doesn’t have a website, a Facebook page, they aren’t on Petfinder and they don’t appear to be doing rescue work publicly.

Interestingly enough, they have the same address and owners as the two-time Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill  “Little Puppies Online” , owned by Nathan and Sara Bazler. The Bazlers also operate “Florida Puppies Online” , “Maryland Puppies Online” and “Georgia Puppies Online” . All are online websites that sell countless puppies to the public, while also offering a storefront location in some states. 

 

Provided by the USDA

 

Pulled from each of their websites

 

In both 2017 and 2020, Little Puppies Online and Florida Puppies online were each named one of the worst puppy mills in the country due to violations on the local, state and Federal level. According to information obtained by the HSUS from the Department of Animal Services in Collier County, Florida;

“As of early March 2020, at least 14 puppies had died at the Florida Puppies Online operation in 2019 and early 2020 alone, and the total number of puppies who died between 2017 and early March 2020 was at least 26. Some of the causes of death listed in the records were parvovirus, parasites, hypoglycemia and respiratory infections.”

 From January 1, 2019 to September 15, 2020 records that we obtained from the Ohio Department of Agriculture show that over 1,160 puppies left this address and went to out-of-state sellers and buyers. This number does not include Ohio citizens that purchased puppies from any of these sites. The Bazler’s currently hold a USDA broker license ( 31-B-0174 ) , an Ohio broker license ( CB000649 ) and an Ohio rescue license (  CB002A5A ) . Their current USDA dog count is reflected below. 

 

Their two most recent inspection reports had identical violations that show the facility neglected to provide the additional 6inches of space around the body of the dog that the USDA requires.

 

—-

In the case of the other sham rescues, they were selling puppies to pet stores in cities that had humane ordinances, in order to try and skirt the local legislation. It appears that the Bazlers are using their nonprofit rescue status to sell ‘damaged’ puppies through their own for-profit businesses.  

As of September 25, 2020 , they appear to have two ‘rescue’ puppies on their website. 

Photo taken from their website on 9/25/2020

Photo taken from their website on 9/25/2020

Photo taken from their website on 9/25/2020

Photo taken from their website on 9/25/2020

 

It is unclear at this time how many of their commercially bred puppies are being labeled as rescues in their own stores and on websites. 

At the time of this article being published, all of the entities listed have been reported to the IRS and the Attorney Generals in each of their states by Bailing Out Benji. Their associated business licenses can be found below. 

IRS: Dogs to the Rescue. 83-1133240

USDA: Little Puppies Online. 31-B00174

OHIO: Little Puppies Online: CB000649 and Dogs to the Rescue CB002A5A

MARYLAND: Maryland Puppies Online/Little Puppies Online: Z18311266

FLORIDA: Little Puppies Online/Florida Puppies Online: 26-4532307

GEORGIA: Little Puppies Online/Georgia Puppies Online: 19140419

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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?  Humane 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.

___

©Bailing Out Benji 2020

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.

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