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  issue > bauck > USDA license

 

KEY MESSAGE: Minnesota has no state laws to license or regulate commercial dog and cat breeders; however, the USDA regulates certain breeders and brokers, such as Kathy Bauck, who sell to pet stores. In 2010, the USDA terminated Bauck's Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license for two years. Based on additional evidence, the USDA, as of September 2011, permanently revoked Bauck's AWA license — for life.

NOTE: USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. As explained below, due to multiple appeals and legal actions, it took almost one year (from June 22, 2009 until June 7, 2010) for the USDA to terminate this breeder's license. Revoking her license began with a Complaint filed by the USDA in December 2010 and ended with a Consent Decision in September 2011.

 

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Photo from CAPS; from undercover investigation.

 

Licensing and oversight

The federal government requires certain dog and cat breeders and brokers to be licensed. Specifically, dog breeders/brokers who sell wholesale (i.e., to pet stores) must have a federal license. (Retail sales, such as puppies sold through websites, parking lots or directly from the kennel, are not required to be licensed.)

This federal license is required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This Act is enforced by the Animal Care (AC) program, which is part of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Kennels that are licensed by the USDA are often referred to as USDA-licensed facilities with an Animal Welfare Act license. (For copy below, we also refer to it as the USDA license.)

Currently, there are approximately 48 dog/cat breeders and brokers in Minnesota who have an Animal Welfare Act license and are inspected by the USDA.

NOTE: There are no state laws in Minnesota to license, inspect or regulate dog and cat breeders; therefore, Kathy Bauck does not have a state license to operate as a dog breeder. (Lack of state regulation also means there is no state agency who has regulatory authority to inspect her kennels and assess how the animals are treated.)

ALSO: Kathy Bauck's kennel is in Pine Lake Township near New York Mills, Minnesota. Because it is a township, local jurisdiction of any kennel regulations falls to the county, which is Otter Tail County. Otter Tail County does not require a Conditional Use Permit for

this breeder and, therefore, does not monitor animal welfare within kennels. 

 

Class B license: Breeder and Broker

Kathy Bauck operated under a USDA Class B license: 41-B-0159

The USDA Class B license allowed Bauck to breed her own dogs as well as buy dogs or puppies from other breeders and then sell to pet stores throughout the United States. 

Due to the undercover investigation conducted by Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) of Kathy Bauck's practices as a large-scale dog breeder/broker, which resulted in Bauck's criminal conviction for animal torture, as well as previous charges for practicing veterinary medicine without a license, the USDA concluded Bauck was "unfit" to hold an Animal Welfare Act license because she had operated her kennel in a "criminally improper manner." (See links below.)

Bauck's license was cancelled on August 16, 2010; however, the USDA "officially" terminated her license on June 7, 2010 for two years. (NOTE: Termination is not permanent. After two years, Bauck could re-apply for a USDA license. A breeder is permanently stopped from holding a USDA license if that license is revoked. This is why it's important to pay close attention to legal terms used — license cancellation vs. termination vs. revocation.)

 

Bauck USDA license terminated for two years

Terminating a pet dealer's license is an arduous process. Many legal actions are submitted and a lot of time passes. In the case of Kathy Bauck, she appealed the USDA's decision to terminate her license. Some of the dates and filings are below:

• On or about May 19, 2008, Kathy Bauck was found guilty of practicing veterinary medicine without a license in State of Minnesota v. Kathy Jo Bauck, 56-CR-08-1131.

• On or about March 29, 2009, Kathy Bauck was found guilty by a jury verdict of four misdemeanor counts pertaining to animal cruelty and torture in the case of State of Minnesota v. Kathy Jo Bauck, 56-CR-08-2271.

Based on the above decisions (and other factors), the USDA chose to terminate Kathy Bauck's Animal Welfare Act license.

• On June 22, 2009, action was initiated by the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to terminate this breeder's license.

• On July 15, 2009, Bauck, through her lawyer, filed an Answer as to why he license should not be terminated.

• On August 13, 2009, the Administrator filed a motion for summary judgment to terminate Kathy Bauck's USDA license 41-B-0159 and disqualify her from "obtaining an Animal Welfare Act license for a period of no less than two years."

See: Complainant's Motion 

• On September 15, 2009, Kathy Bauck, through her counsel, responded with "Respondent's Return to Complainant's Motion for Summary Judgment" — challenging the USDA's decision.

• On September 29, 2009, the Administrative Law Judge agreed with the USDA's (APHIS) request and granted the Administrator's Motion for Summary Judgment, unless an appeal is filed.

See: Decision by Administrative Law Judge

• On October 29, Kathy Bauck appealed the decision and filed a Petition for Judicial Review.

• On December 2, 2009, the Judicial Officer of the USDA agreed and handed down its Decision Decision and Order to terminate Bauck's USDA license and disqualify her from becoming licensed under the USDA for two years, upholding the Administrative Law Judge's decision and order.

See: Dec. 2, 2009 Decision and Order

Based on this decision, it appeared that Bauck would no longer be breeding and selling animals. This, however, was not true.

• Under the law, Bauck was allowed to file a motion appealing the USDA decision, which her lawyer did on January 20, 2010.

• On February 16, 2010, the appeal was granted, which allowed Bauck to continue breeding, dealing and selling to pet stores throughout the United States.

• On May 18, 2010, the USDA filed a motion to "lift stay" (i.e., remove Bauck's action).

• On June 2, 2010, Bauck filed another motion in opposition to the USDA's motion.

• On June 7, 2010, the Judicial Officer ordered the USDA license of Kathy Bauck to be terminated, stating that Bauck is "disqualified for 2 years from becoming licensed under the Animal Welfare Act or otherwise obtaining, holding, or using an Animal Welfare Act license, directly or indirectly through any corporate or other device or person."

See: Order Lifting Stay: Kathy Jo Bauck Docket No. D-09-0139

During this time, Kathy Bauck's husband, Allan Bauck, tried to obtain a USDA license under the business name Pine Lake Enterprises. His license application was denied on February 4, 2010.

To read denial: Allan Bauck (Pine Lake Enterprises) Decision and Order

In denying Allan Bauck's application, the USDA (APHIS) believed that "the application for a license was an attempt to circumvent the then impending termination of Kathy Bauck's AWA license No. 41-B-0159."

The USDA concluded that retention of Bauck's license was contrary to the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act.

 

Bauck allowed to continue to breed, buy and sell dogs and puppies

Even with the termination of Bauck's USDA license for two years, Bauck was still allowed to continue breeding and selling dogs.

As stated earlier, a USDA license allows a breeder/broker to sell wholesale (to pet stores, etc.) But a breeder (with or without a USDA license) can still sell retail — directly to consumers through the Internet, classified ads, parking lots, by telephone, directly from the kennel, etc., which is what Kathy Bauck has done. 

Selling retail is known as the "retail loophole" within the Animal Welfare Act. (Some breeders have purposely dropped their USDA license so as to sell through websites and not be regulated by the USDA.) The USDA has recognized this "loophole" and is now changing its regulations to include retail sales. The PUPS Act has also been introduced in Congress, which is a federal amendment to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include dog breeders who also sell through retail.

NOTE: As Minnesota has no state laws to license or regulate dog/cat breeders, Bauck was been able to conduct business without any inspections from state authorities.

 

Bauck's Animal Welfare Act license permanently revoked

Based on additional evidence that Bauck had and was violating the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA conducted an investigation which led to Bauck's license being permanently being revoked. See: Recent Status

 

 

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