Commercial stores have to buy their dogs and cats from commercial breeders, aka puppy mills. It’s the law. Commercial breeders are licensed by the USDA. Commercial breeders are high volume breeders, and have to be to keep up with the demand of the retail market. In the part of the country where I live, pet stores selling dogs are fairly small and at the most sell 6 or 8 different breeds, but on the east coast and particularly in the state of New York, there are mega pet stores that have hundreds of dogs. One such retailer is Island Puppies aka New York Kennels with 14 locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and CT.
According to their web site, they keep over 350 dogs in inventory and every breed big or small that you can think of, and they will special order any breed that they do not carry. This is like a supermarket of puppies.
Where do they all come from? According to Island Puppies web site and Facebook page, they come from a “network of private breeders”. Well a network in this case most likely means a puppy broker who buys puppies wholesale from many different licensed commercial breeders. The most well know puppy broker and one of the nations largest is the Hunte Corporation. However, we do know that Island Puppies has bought directly from puppy millers in the past, and not just any puppy mill, but the most notorious convicted puppy miller, Kathy Jo Bauck in Minnesota.
Kathy Bauck was convicted of severe animal abuse in 2009.
For over 15 years, citizens, veterinarians, employees and organizations filed complaints of suspected animal abuse against Kathy Bauck. This breeder:
• violated Animal Welfare Act standards (per USDA inspection reports);
• was sentenced for practicing veterinary medicine without a license;
• was found guilty of animal torture (by jury verdict) in 2009;
• had her American Kennel Club (AKC) privileges suspended in 2010;
• was accused of selling unhealthy puppies;
• had her Animal Welfare Act license terminated in 2010 for being “unfit;”
• had continued to sell and ship dogs to pet stores in New York (even though her license was terminated); and
• had her Animal Welfare Act license permanently revoked in 2011.
Island Puppies bought puppies from Kathy Bauck for several years, including after her guilty verdict of 2009, after her breeding license was suspended in 2010, and as recent as 2011 before her license was permanently revoked and her dogs confiscated. The Bauck trial and conviction was historic and heavily in the public eye. Why would Island Puppies continue to buy dogs from her after she was found guilty and even after her license was suspended, knowing at the very least that the dogs would be in poor or questionable health?
Island Puppies was not the only New York pet store, or mega pet store to buy from Kathy Bauck. Here is a list of others all from 2008 to 2011 (Remember New York Kennels and Island Puppies are one and the same)
If you look up these stores on the internet, those that are still in business, (a few on the list seem to have disappeared or have no web site) you will see that they all still claim to buy from local or private breeders. Well there is no such thing as a private breeder. They are either licensed to sell commercially or they are not. Its that simple.
If people truly want to close down puppy mills, the retail demand has to end. In a sense it really makes no difference how healthy the dogs appear to be in the stores. The stores may very well take very good care of the dogs while they are in their care, and may even arrive to them from the mills in good shape, but for every healthy puppy shipped to a store, many more suffer and die at the hands of the puppy millers, and the dogs designated as breeders who are never sold spend their life in a cage under the most horrible conditions you could possibly imagine, often disfigured, maimed, and put to death when they are no longer useful.