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USDA Shuts Down Puppy Mill

Team 5 Investigates Uncovers Loophole That Will Allow Breeder To Sell Online

POSTED: 10:27 am EST January 11, 2010
UPDATED: 5:24 pm EST January 11, 2010

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More than a year after Team 5 Investigates first exposed shocking and unhealthy conditions inside a Minnesota puppy mill, the federal government is finally shutting it down.NewsCenter5's Sean Kelly reported Monday that Kathy Bauck, owner of "Pick of the Litter" and "Puppys on Wheels," has lost her license to operate for the next two years.Bauck was one of the country's biggest dog brokers and has shipped hundreds of sick dogs to local pet shops, including Laughlin Kennel in Oxford, Mass., Elite Puppies and Grooming in Webster, Mass., and Precious Pups in Hudson, Mass.The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its final decision and order, stated that Bauck is "unfit" to be licensed because she operated her kennel in a criminally improper manner."We are very pleased with this decision because CAPS has been working towards this for a very long time," said Deborah Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society in Cohasset, Mass.Most of the USDA's evidence against Bauck can be seen on video tape taken by an undercover investigator for CAPS. The video shows emaciated dogs, sick dogs and others being dunked in a tub of diluted but toxic insecticide that is only supposed to be used on swine."Somebody like this shouldn't even be allowed to have personal pets," said Howard in describing the conditions her investigator found.The government is revoking Bauck's license to deal dogs based on her conviction of animal cruelty and torture in March 2009. The year before, she pleaded guilty to practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Both times Bauck spent time in jail.However, Team 5 Investigates has learned Bauck will still be allowed to keep her animals because they're considered her personal property. "I'm really alarmed the dogs were not seized," said Howard.Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the USDA, claims his agency will continue to make unannounced inspections of Bauck's facility in New York Mills, Minnesota to make sure the remaining animals are ok.Animal rights activists told Team 5 they're equally upset that Bauck can continue to sell animals online because it's not a USDA regulated activity. "She's lost a lot of her online business, though, because of all this publicity so I'm encouraged by that," said Howard.Bauck will not be able to re-apply for another USDA license for at least two years."We're going to be following this very closely and we're going to make sure that this woman or anyone in her family never has a USDA license again," said Howard.Zenas Baer, Kathy Bauck's attorney, told Team 5 the USDA's final decision was news to him, but not unexpected. No word yet on whether Bauck will appeal.

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