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USDA Moves to Revoke License of Infamous Minn. Puppy Miller

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture for initiating proceedings to revoke the federal animal dealer license of convicted animal abuser and puppy mill operator Kathy Jo Bauck of New York Mills, Minn. Bauck has been cited for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act and state animal welfare laws repeatedly since at least 2004.  She was convicted in March 2009 on state violations of three counts of animal torture and one count of animal cruelty.

"The Humane Society of the United States commends the USDA for taking this important step to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, and we encourage the agency to continue investigating, and, where warranted, revoking licenses of dog dealers who do not comply with the law," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign.

The Animal Welfare Act requires that dog dealers who sell to pet stores be licensed and inspected by the USDA. Last month, The HSUS requested that the USDA revoke the license of Bauck, owner of the "Puppies on Wheels" kennel (also known as "Pick of the Litter") and deny licenses to any of her family members involved with the puppy mill facility.

The HSUS provided agency officials with information uncovered earlier this year indicating that Bauck had reportedly sold dogs to pet stores, including Petland, Inc., under the name of her husband, Allan Bauck, who is not licensed. A list of pet stores that have recently purchased puppies from the Bauck facility can be found here.

USDA inspection reports document numerous violations by Bauck of the AWA, including repeated incidences of animals suffering from untreated illnesses and injuries; dogs "euthanized" by unapproved methods; deaths due to improper care; puppies kept in outdoor cages in subfreezing temperatures; and dogs found coated in matted, feces-encrusted fur and standing in their own wastes.

Animal dealers who lose their federal licenses to sell to pet stores often continue to sell puppies directly to the public and over the Internet due to a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act. The HSUS encourages the public to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, or if you must buy, visit the breeder in person and see how and where the animals have been born and raised.

Timeline:

  • August 2009 – USDA initiates proceedings to revoke Bauck's animal dealer license.
  • March 2009 - Bauck was convicted of state violations on three counts of animal torture and one count of animal cruelty. 
  • 2008 - Bauck pled guilty to practicing veterinary medicine without a license. She was fined $900, served 10 days in jail and was placed on probation for 2 years. 
  • 2006 - Bauck was ordered by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine to "cease and desist" from performing veterinary medicine without a license after puppy buyers complained that she was performing botched surgeries on many of her dogs and then selling them over the Internet.

Puppy Mill Facts:

  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
  • There is little regard for the breeding dog's health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.

To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at  humanesociety.org.