Small national non-profit helps to permanently shut down a large and inhumane puppy mill operation.
Kathy Bauck’s license was permanently revoked on September 14, 2011. The agreement – known as a consent decision – also permanently disqualified Bauck from obtaining an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license or registration. This decision effectively prevents her from engaging in the commercial production and resale of dogs to pet shops and Internet sellers.
Members of her family – known to be involved in her many ventures – were also fined and permanently disqualified from licensing with the USDA. Her husband, Allan, was fined $100,000 (of which $5,000 was to be paid within 25 days of the order and $95,000 would be held in abeyance – in case of violation). Kathy’s daughter, Corinne Peters, and her sister, Janet Jesuit, were fined $50,000 each (payment of $5,000 with $45,000 held in abeyance as well).
They also agreed to a disbursement sale of most of the dogs under their custody or in their premises. They could only keep six dogs of which three may be unspayed females. All of the unsold dogs had to be donated to a shelter or rescue. On September 21, 2011 they had to file a notice with the hearing clerk corroborating their compliance with the ruling.
In 1997, CAPS began investigating Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter in Minnesota. Bauck, one of the largest USDA-licensed dog brokers and breeders in the U.S, sold thousands of dogs to pet shops and Internet buyers across the country. A CAPS undercover employment investigation in the spring of 2008 revealed Bauck’s facility held 900 adults dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator showed sick, wounded, emaciated and dying dogs.
Based on the evidence collected by the CAPS investigator, a jury convicted Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture. However, the judge sentenced her on only one of the counts; she received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days of work release; a $500 fine, reduced from $1,000; 80 hours of community service and one year of probation.
On August 13, 2009, the USDA/APHIS filed a Motion for Summary Judgment requesting the termination of Bauck’s license. CAPS believes this judgment was due in part to our petition for rulemaking mandating automatic termination of license upon an animal cruelty conviction. Following Bauck’s appeal, APHIS’ response to her appeal, the Judicial Officer’s Order and Decision in December 2009 terminating Bauck’s license and a subsequent termination stay based on Bauck’s federal appeal, the USDA officially terminated Bauck’s license in June 2010, effective two months later.
CAPS turned over evidence to the USDA and dealt directly with the lawyers for the USDA’s Office of General Counsel who handled the Bauck investigation and case since 2008. The USDA filed a complaint on December 7, 2010 and an amended complaint on June 5, 2011 that incorporated the evidence provided by CAPS. The hearing in Fargo, ND was scheduled for the week of November 14.
Despite all the evidence against Bauck, her conviction and license termination, CAPS received complaints in 2010 and 2011 about sick puppies purchased at pet shops in Long Island. The complaints showed that Bauck sold puppies to pet shops after her USDA license cancellation on August 16, 2010. Interstate health certificates proved that Bauck, using her maiden name and a business name, sold dogs to various Long Island pet shops. Some of these certificates even listed a fabricated pet shop in New York City – Canine Culture Center – as a consignee.
With the help of a local Minnesota organization, CAPS kept Bauck under the spotlight. We tracked Bauck’s shipments for a number of years and uncovered that she sold nearly 1,400 puppies to locations in New York. CAPS own undercover investigations of these pet shops revealed stores that refused to disclose the source of their puppies – in violation of the New York pet shop lemon law – or provided limited information after putting down a deposit. Bauck told the investigator that she was “partnered with” and family friends with the owners of at least two of the pet shops. CAPS submitted their findings to the USDA and state agencies in New York, as formal complaints.
For more information, photos and video visit www.caps-web.org or click on the links below.