Monday, May 11, 2009

Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in Prison

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Anny Deirmenjian
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Notorious USDA Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in Prison
Kathy Bauck, Owner and Operator of one of the Largest Commercial Breeding Facilities in the United States is Locked Away for Only 20 Days

(Greater Boston, MA) – Touching his face with her hands, Kathy Bauck said “Don’t be scared. The Lord let’s me see what you’re thinking…are you a CAPS investigator?” The undercover investigator from the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) -- the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet shops and puppy mills — replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” Bauck used her self-proclaimed Christianity for years to justify her unrelenting mistreatment of animals.

Kathy Bauck is the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota. Her facility, one of the largest USDA licensed commercial dog breeding and brokering operations in the country, distributes thousands of sick and dying dogs to pet shops across the country and via the internet. Based on evidence from a six week undercover employment investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society, a jury in Fergus Falls (Otter Tail County), Minnesota convicted Kathy Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture.

Unfortunately, on May 1, 2009, in what was a great miscarriage of justice, Judge Waldemar Senyk sentenced Bauck on just one of the counts, which he wrongly believed encompassed the other charges. Bauck received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days of work release, a $500 fine, 80 hours of community service and one year of probation. Bauck’s lawyers have manipulated the judicial system by claiming the breeding animals were livestock and not companion animals, which would have required seizure of the animals under the statute. The sentence also mandates that a state humane agent can make unannounced visits to the facility, which is now owned by Bauck’s husband and daughter, although Ms. Bauck is clearly still in charge. Being on work release means that Bauck will spend nights in jail during the 20 days of her sentence yet be able to oversee kennel operations during the day, just as she did while serving an earlier sentence.

During the trial, as the CAPS investigator walked by Ms. Bauck, she said, “I forgive you.” Yet while Bauck and her attorney waited in the courtroom with the CAPS investigator and the assistant prosecutor before the jury and judge came in, Bauck cryptically said to the CAPS investigator, "It's good to see you again, Jason. I'm glad you're not dead."

At the time of the investigators employment, Ms. Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded and dying. This graphic video portrays emaciated dogs nursing their puppies, dogs immersed in caustic pesticides, bleach water used for wounds, and animals simply left to suffer and die. While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine (including doing C-sections on her dogs), Ms. Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. Despite Ms. Bauck’s blatant disregard for the law, the state allowed her to plea bargain for just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped a cruelty charge that was brought about for the killing of a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by a CAPS undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities.

CAPS has investigated more than 1,000 puppy mills – mostly USDA licensed breeders and brokers – in the United States and handles pet shop complaints from all over the U. States and Canada. Over the years the organization has received numerous complaints from consumers who purchased sick puppies that were bred or brokered by people like Bauck. Ms. Bauck has been licensed by the USDA since 1983 and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA has failed to take action. A July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck had no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding the USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA. CAPS will return to the Capitol next month to meet with USDA officials and members of Congress and will use the Bauck case as its primary evidence of the USDA’s malfeasance.

Click here to view the video for the investigation report. WARNING: Some of this information is graphic.

For more information please visit or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781.210.0938.

About Companion Animal Protection Society:
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in Pet Shops and Puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, consumer education through the media, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area. For more information please visit

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