In the past Wendy Laymon lived near Seattle and had been fined repeatedly, had her license suspended, and even served jail time for animal-related violations. Today, she has moved to Mo. and continues to sell dogs over the Internet due to a loophole in federal regulations. Wendy moved to Mo. and opened a commercial dog breeding facility. According to government documents there are as many as 100 dogs there. She also runs a website that is supposed to be a “non-profit, rescue adoption agency” for dogs in puppy mills. Ironically, a puppy mill is exactly what she is running.
Jennifer Izzi, from Selbyville, Delaware, says when Frankie, a French bulldog, arrived to her in a van filled with at least 50 other dogs roughly a year ago, he was very thin and frail, afraid to walk on grass or on stairs, and hid under furniture whenever someone walked near him. She took him to the vet and was told that Frankie had severe ear infections, severe kennel cough and was clearly malnourished.
The Humane Society defines Wendy’s operation as a puppy mill. Generally this term describes large commercial kennels where dogs are rarely allowed to touch the ground, live their lives in cages, and are rarely socialized. Animal welfare experts have said that puppy mill dogs have higher chances of developing illnesses and genetic defects due to over breed and possible in-breeding. Dan Paul, of the Humane Society said “they’re literally dog-breeding machines, and it’s just not right.”
State inspectors have repeatedly found some very serious violations of animal care regulations at Wendy‘s facility, including a period of roughly two years where no inspections by an attending veterinarian as law requires had happened, the cages and grounds were in poor condition, they had outdated medication and some medications that were labeled for cows. Wendy failed to show up for scheduled inspections and, in one instance, she flatly refused to let an inspector look inside one of her buildings. The state still issued her a commercial breeder’s license. However, a spokesperson stated that they have no record for a special dog rescue license under her name or the name of her company.
Wendy did sign a federal consent order admitting to willfully violating the Animal Care Act. She lost her USDA license to sell to pet stores, was heavily fined and ordered to improve conditions. Some new kennels were built since then and they do appear to have heating and cooling. Without a USDA license federal regulations do not prevent her from selling directly to dog buyers on the Internet. Dan says “the law was written before the Internet. So now there’s a giant loophole for sellers that want to sell directly to the public via the Internet. No inspections and the Internet is the ‘puppy miller’s’ best friend.”
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