North Penn Puppy Mill Watch
Give Hope To The Mill Dogs - BOYCOTT Stores That
Apple Creek Kennel Surrenders 83 Golden Retrievers
By: Tony Spilde/Bismark Tribune
Mar 26, 2007 - 17:09:32 CDT
A pheasant cackled at Leonard Moos’ place on Monday afternoon, which was unusual only because of the sound that followed.
Moos, owner of Bismarck’s
Apple Creek Kennel for 38 years, had his dogs taken from him over the
weekend. The 83 golden retrievers — including 37 puppies that were bred
to be sold to a pet broker in Kansas — were removed from Moos’ care
because of alleged code violations. A Minnesota shelter that is caring
for the dogs called the kennel a puppy mill, but Moos said he was just
too old and too slow and was falling behind.
The problems, including
improper cleaning of the kennel runs and lack of straw in the runs,
were noticed at a routine inspection last week. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture, which licenses dog breeders who sell to brokers or pet
stores, conducted the inspection and told Moos of the problems.
Darby Holladay, a USDA spokesman, said Moos voluntarily surrendered the animals.
“The USDA took this action after being concerned for the care and welfare of the dogs at this kennel,” Holladay said.
He said the USDA wasn’t
authorized to pursue any legal charges, but that any action would have
to be taken by county officials. No charges were filed in Burleigh
County against Moos as of Monday.
Moos said the dogs were in fine shape, but acknowledged that he was in the wrong.
“I was getting behind,
falling apart and just not keeping up,” Moos said. “I told (the USDA)
that I was glad they came to get (the dogs). It was getting so down and
out. I’m glad they’re gone. It was going pretty fast downhill, and I
knew that it was.”
The USDA animal-care
inspector for North Dakota, Amy Jirsa-Smith, didn’t return phone calls
seeking information on the list of infractions Moos allegedly made. He
said he was shut down because of the dirty runs and lack of straw.
Mike Fry, executive director
of Animal Ark Shelter — the Hastings, Minn., location where the dogs
were taken — said Moos was running a puppy mill. He said the dogs were
frightened and neglected, and that some were injured. He has posted
images on the shelter’s Web site that he said show abrasions caused at
Apple Creek Kennel.
Missy Hilsendeger, an animal
warden for the Bismarck Police Department, helped round up dogs at the
kennel on Saturday. She said some dogs had matted hair and some were
frightened, but that she has seen places with worse conditions than
Apple Creek Kennel.
“It wasn’t in real bad condition,” Hilsendeger said. “I think he tried taking care of them, but just got overwhelmed.”
After the inspection, the
USDA contacted Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, a small organization
that takes in surrendered or found goldens and finds them new homes.
RAGOM came to Bismarck on Saturday to collect the dogs. It was the
largest one-time rescue for the group, and it solicited help from the
Animal Ark Shelter. The dogs were taken to Hastings, where volunteers
worked into the early morning hours Sunday to unload the animals and
take care of them.
The dogs were washed and
fed, and those that needed medical attention were cared for right away,
Fry said. Again, Jirsa-Smith was unavailable to comment on the alleged
Temporary homes were found
for the dogs, but many of them still need permanent homes. Monetary
donations would also be welcome; according to RAGOM, the veterinary
bills for the 83 dogs will likely top $25,000.
For information about adopting a dog or making a donation, check out www.ragom.org, or call 952-946-8070.