NY Mills dog breeder denies that USDA license was taken away
New York Mills former dog breeder Kathy Bauck is denying claims that her USDA license for selling animals was taken away, saying she forfeited the title.
According to the USDA, Bauck's license was revoked on Sept. 14, with no option for renewal, after the administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service filed a complaint alleging violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Bauck and members of her family were also issued fines by the USDA. Bauck and her husband, Allan, were fined $100,000 - $95,000 of which will be applied if the two violate the suspension.
USDA documents state that Bauck and her husband neither denied or admitted allegations and waived the option for a hearing.
This isn't the first time Bauck has dealt with federal government licensing issues.
Bauck's USDA license for selling dogs was taken away in 2009 following animal cruelty and torture convictions in Otter Tail County Court. After two years, Bauck would have had the chance to apply for it again.
Veterinarian documents show that, during that time, Bauck continued to sell animals to New York City pet stores.
Bauck said in an interview that she was a business partner with all pet stores she sold to in New York, which meant she was still lawfully engaging with the terms of her license suspension.
"I partnered up with these stores," she said. "I didn't do anything illegal."
Before animals can be sold outside of the state, a veterinarian must sign off on a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), which includes the animal's destination.
CVI documents from Bauck's veterinarian show that, from January to March 2011, Bauck sold three shipments - 35 dogs - to Canine Culture Center, a store located in New York. From April to August, 2001, six shipments, totaling 85 dogs, were sent to that same address.
An investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) revealed that Canine Companions was not a pet store, but a meat market.
When questioned about the sales, Bauck denied selling her animals to a meat market.
Bauck said the meat market - Dak Cheong, located in Chinatown - was owned by a business partner's father. Bauck said she was instructed to deliver the dogs to that address.
The CVI forms show that Bauck's husband was designated to deliver the dogs.
"My husband never once delivered a puppy to a meat market," she said.
Bauck said the three forms were filled out with the wrong address. Rather than '36' East Broadway, NY, NY, 10002, the location should have read '56.'
"The form is wrong,' she said. "It should be 56, not 36."
A search by the Focus revealed that 56 East Broadway is occupied by Wong Hing Wong Market Inc., also in Chinatown.
Along with the revocation of her USDA license, Bauck was ordered to give up custody of the nearly 1,000 dogs she had in her possession.
When asked where Bauck had donated the animals, she said she was not revealing their locations, in fear that animal rights activists would attempt to harm the dogs.
Bauck speaks out
Bauck said the recent allegations were the last straw for her.
After decades of complaints from animal advocate organizations, Bauck said she didn't have the energy to keep fighting.
"I decided I was just not going to do this anymore," she said. "I was sick to death of the animal rights people."
In 2008, an undercover CAPS employee was hired to work at Bauck's kennel. Footage he caught on tape was used to convict Bauck of animal abuse and torture charges. It was also used to petition the USDA to revoke her license.
Bauck said much of what the man caught on tape was shown in a way that twisted the truth.
Included in the video was infamous footage of Bauck dumping dogs in a large bin of pesticide dip.
Bauck admits she did submerge her animals in paramite dip, a formula used to rid horses and cows of fleas and ticks. However, she said on the day of the taping, the dogs were being given a bubble bath.
"It (paramite dip) is labeled with exactly the same ingredients as the horse dip or cattle dip - it's the same thing, except that it's three times less the cost."
"I'm not ashamed to tell people that I give my dogs baths to protect them from fleas, ticks and lice," she added.
Bauck said her animal torture and cruelty charges were a direct result of the CAPS investigator's treatment of her animals.
Bauck alleges that emaciated animals shown in the video were starved by the CAPS investigator while she was on a five-day vacation.
Bauck maintains the stance that she treated her animals with dignity, saying she considered her kennel, which regularly housed 1,000 dogs, a facility where animals were treated well.
"I cooked eggs for my dog every morning, scrambled them," she said. "Nobody ran a kennel like ours."
Bauck also said she spent $20,000 a year on dog toys and made dog beds. She claims the size of the dog pens were 10 times that required by law.
"You can tell when a dog is raised in a puppy mill because they turn in circles," she said. "Not one of my dogs turned in circles."
Referring to the start of her career in the dog breeding business, Bauck said she wanted to provide people with the unconditional love dogs give.
"I believed with all my heart and soul that the most unloved person here on earth can be loved by a dog, because they love unconditionally," she said, "and that's my sole reason for raising dogs."