CAPS vs. Bauck: How A Small Nonprofit Brought Down A Large Puppy Mill





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Published on Jan 17, 2011

USDA revoked the broker's license of Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter in Minnesota, on September 14, 2011 based on evidence CAPS supplied to USDA. The agreement -- known as a consent decision -- also imposed a fine and permanently disqualified Bauck from obtaining an Animal Welfare Act license. 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, involved in her ventures, were also fined and permanently disqualified from USDA licensing.

In 1997, CAPS began investigating Kathy Bauck, one of the largest USDA-licensed dog brokers and breeders in the U.S and seller of thousands of dogs to pet shops and Internet buyers across the country. A CAPS undercover employment video shot over a six-week period in the spring of 2008 showed sick, wounded, emaciated and dying dogs. Without the support of our members, an undercover investigation of this magnitude would not have been possible.

Based on evidence collected by CAPS, a jury convicted Bauck in March 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture. The judge sentenced her on only one count: 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.

In August 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. After a number of administrative and legal proceedings, the USDA officially terminated Bauck's license in June 2010, effective two months later.

Despite Bauck's conviction and license termination, CAPS received complaints in 2010 and 2011 about sick puppies purchased at Long Island pet shops. Interstate health certificates confirmed that Bauck, using her maiden name and a business name, sold nearly 1,400 dogs to Long Island pet shops after her license termination. Some of these certificates listed a fabricated pet shop in New York City -- Canine Culture Center -- as a consignee. CAPS 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 receiving a deposit. CAPS turned all of this evidence over to USDA's Office of General Counsel, which then filed a complaint in December 2010. CAPS is currently working with the New York Attorney General on an investigation of the pet shops that conspired with Bauck.

"CAPS vs Bauck, How a Small Nonprofit Brought Down a Large Puppy Mill," our professionally produced and widely viewed documentary about the Bauck investigation and case, can be viewed on Vimeo, YouTube and the CAPS website.

Visit www.caps-web.org for more information.


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