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  issue > bauck > complaints: consumers

 

KEY MESSAGE: Puppies produced at Pick Of The Litter kennel have been sold at pet stores throughout the nation. Some consumers unknowingly purchased unhealthy puppies and have filed complaints. This is a consumer fraud issue.

NOTE: One of the issues with pet stores (and their websites) is the fact that some stores do not disclose where the animal is bred prior to purchase, or may mislead customers into thinking that their puppies were bred and raised by small, reputable breeders.

 

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CONSUMER COMPLAINTS

Misleading sales practices at some pet stores combined with improper dog breeding conditions not only results in harm to the animals, it can also effect consumers who may (unknowingly) purchase a sickly dog or puppy from a pet store or through the Internet. The animal may die soon after purchase or end up costing the consumer hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills.

This is a consumer protection issue, yet often consumers don't know where to file a complaint or may not know the origin of the dog — i.e., who produced the dog and sold it to the pet store.

Some consumers have bought unhealthy puppies that have been traced back to Pick Of The Litter, where Kathy Bauck has either bred the dog herself or brokered the animal (purchased from another breeder). No centralized, national database of consumer complaints for unhealthy pets exists, so it's difficult to assess the truth depth and breadth of the consumer problem.

 

REPORTS: PET SHOP PUPPIES

A website called www.petshoppuppies.org (no longer in operational) helped consumers obtain information about the breeder/broker of their dog, if purchased from a pet store. The reports on tisr website showed both healthy and unhealthy dogs purchased.

The postings for Kathy Bauck's kennel was lengthy (33 different reports entered for dogs purchased between the years 2002 and 2008); the majority of reports posted showed unhealthy dogs purchased.

 

Examples of the consumer reports gathered by petshoppuppies are below, showing a variety of years and pet stores. Each puppy purchased within each report came from Kathy Bauck, as a breeder — one indicates Bauck as a broker. Report states dog breed, date purchased, pet shop and dog's health condition.

ID: 7214
Date Submitted: 11/17/2008
Breed: Shetland Sheepdog
Date Purchased: 1/10/2008
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Park Pet Shop
Details: Lice (specific to cattle); deformed leg; fearful; does not meet breed standard.

Update: 12/12/2008: Dog diagnosed with moderate hip displaysia.

ID: 10834
Date Submitted: 4/8/2010
Breed: Lhasa Apso Poodle
Date Purchased: 6/9/2007
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Family of Pets AKA Family Puppy
Details: Parvovirus; a year later had gastrointestinal issues (throwing up, diarrhea, dehydration, etc.) ; Atopic Dermatitis; juvenile cataracts in BOTH eyes & going blind at age two.

ID: 3467
Date Submitted: 9/2/2007
Breed: Bulldog
Date Purchased: 7/4/2007
Broker: Bauck, Kathy (breeder)
Petshop: Petland
Details: Urinary tract infection; liver shunt requiring $5000 surgery.

ID: 1860
Date Submitted: 1/20/2007
Breed: Siberian Husky
Date Purchased: 1/6/2007
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Laughlin Kennels
Details: Blindness in both eyes; coccidia; giardia; cystitis

ID: 1302
Date Submitted: 11/3/2006
Breed: German Shepherd Dog
Date Purchased: 10/28/2006
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Petland
Details: Rear dew claws not removed, aggressive

ID: 983
Date Submitted: 9/10/2006
Breed: Saint Bernard
Date Purchased: 11/19/2005
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Laughlin Kennels
Details: Tracheobronchitis 5X while at pet store; hernia repair; hip displaysia

ID: -2058
Date Submitted: 11/8/2004
Breed: Beagle
Date Purchased: 6/19/2004
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Petland Powell
Details: Kennel cough which turned out to be pneumonia; ear mites.

ID: 7139
Date Submitted: 11/6/2008
Breed: Boston Terrier
Date Purchased: 6/2/2004
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Park Pet Shop
Details: Kennel cough; sold as purebred with ACA papers but now weighs 58 lbs and has blue eyes and floppy ears.

ID: -553
Date Submitted: 8/4/2003
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Date Purchased: 5/26/2003
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Petland Southgate
Details: Kennel cough progressed to pneumonia

ID: 4235
Date Submitted: 12/29/2007
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Date Purchased: 10/1/2002
Broker: Unknown
Petshop: Premier Pets AKA Puppies to Guppies
Details: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia

 

MINNESOTA: COMPLAINTS FILED

 

Consumers have also attempted to file complaints over the years with various Minnesota agencies and departments.

Unfortunately, these consumer complaints (indicating unsanitary or substandard breeding conditions) tend to go no where.

In past years, for instance, the MN Board of Animal Health (BAH) upon receiving a consumer complaint, stated:

"breeding and boarding facilities do not come under the jurisdiction of the Board of Animal Health; we only license and inspect premises that deal in stray, abandoned or unwanted animals."

A breeder law has now been passed in Minnesota and the BAH is responsible for licensing and inspecting commercial dog and cat breeders who meet the definition in the law.

Consumer issues, however, tend to get re-directed to the Minnesota Office of Attorney General, who has referred citizens back to the BAH or humane societies.

One example:

In 2004, RoseMarie Laramee had purchased a puppy from Laughlin Kennels, a pet store in Oxford, Massachusetts. The bichon frise puppy had numerous health problems and Ms. Laramee attempted to find additional information about the puppy's breeder and broker. From her sales documents, she knew that Kathy Bauck was the broker and Leroy J and Bonny Sperlich (kennel in South Dakota) were the breeders. She contacted Minnesota state agencies.

Read:  Data Request for Help

Read:  MN Board of Animal Health Reply to Request

COMMENTARY: If an animal is sick when purchased or becomes sick soon after, this is not just a consumer issue. Often the illness or disease may be a direct result of poor conditions or breeding practices. This becomes a regulatory issue and, if neglect or cruelty are found, a criminal issue to be reported to local law enforcement.

 

OTHER STATES: COMPLAINTS FILED

Consumers have also filed complaints, regarding sick puppies purchased from Kathy Bauck's kennel, with nonprofit organizations in other states.

 

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