A PETA Undercover Investigation
Desperate Dogs Warehoused by Breeder Who Mutilated Their Puppies
We Did It! Dogs Saved From Breeder’s Kennel After 4 Days of Unrelenting Calls and Protests by PETA Supporters
A 2021 PETA undercover investigation found dozens of Jack Russell terriers and their puppies confined to small, barren kennels with little protection from the bitter cold and snow 24/7 at JRT John’s Jack Russell Terriers, a kennel near Lake City, Michigan. The dogs were kept solely for the purpose of breeding, with no comforts at all—isolated in cages without beds, toys, or stimulation of any kind. For nearly 40 years, the kennel operator bred dogs and sold them for hundreds of dollars each.
After four days of activists’ protests and sit-ins and thousands of your calls and e-mails to the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office, humane agencies rescued the dogs on January 7, 2022. On January 20, 2022, Missaukee County Prosecuting Attorney David DenHouten filed felony and misdemeanor cruelty charges against the breeder.
Mutilated Without Pain Relief and Housed in Boxes With Urine-Soaked StrawMother dogs and their puppies were confined to wooden boxes in a carport, under piles of trash and debris. They were kept for weeks on urine-soaked straw. The carport reeked of ammonia fumes, which the newborn puppies and their nursing mothers had to inhale, day after day, through noses that are thousands of times more sensitive than ours.
The breeder severed and twisted off puppies’ tails and used nail clippers to cut off their dewclaws, which have bones in them and are akin to our thumbs. Denied anesthetics for these excruciatingly painful mutilations, the puppies screamed in agony.
Soaking Wet and Shivering—While Bales of Dry, Unused Straw Sit Nearby
Dogs were penned outside, with no beds or toys, on snow and mud. They were exposed to the cold rain and snow, leaving them soaked and unable to get warm or even dry.
The breeder allowed only a few handfuls of new straw per dilapidated doghouse, leaving these short-haired dogs constantly shivering in the bitter cold. Though he had about 20 bales of straw on hand one day, he refused a request from PETA’s investigator to give each shivering dog more than a measly twelfth of a bale. Old, wet, or frozen straw that reeked of ammonia was left inside the doghouses and just a small amount of new straw was scattered on top.
Frozen, Filthy Water BucketsThe dogs’ water froze every day. Some dogs were able to poke holes in the ice to lick up some water. When PETA’s investigator removed the ice for them and gave them fresh water, the breeder said to stop it because it was “not needed”! When they were given water, the dogs drank immediately—even for over a full minute.
In warmer weather, the dogs’ water contained mud and algae. The breeder told PETA’s investigator just to “swish” the water around in them and provided no cleaning supplies.
Extreme Psychological Suffering in Isolation
Denied companionship, exercise, and stimulation, the frantic terriers just ran around in circles, paced back and forth, and jumped up and down, clawing at the wire fencing in desperation. Their barking was deafeningly loud. This type of behavior is a heartbreaking attempt to cope with the frustration and stress of intensive confinement and deprivation.
PETA’s investigator never saw the breeder touch any of the dogs who were housed outside—and, not surprisingly, they are largely skittish and unsocial.
One afternoon, PETA’s investigator found a lone dog dead in his kennel, his mouth full of straw and leaves. The breeder had no idea the dog had died—apparently, he hadn’t checked on his dozens of animals since the day before.
A History of ViolationsAround 2008, 85 dogs were reportedly seized from this man, who was living in Barry County, Michigan. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Missaukee County—allegedly because he knew it lacked an animal control department. But in 2012, the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office inspected this kennel repeatedly and described conditions strikingly similar to those that PETA found in 2021. Officials tried to work with the breeder to improve living conditions for the dogs, but that failed. So the local prosecutor took him to court, resulting in the 2013 seizure of at least 165 dogs from his property.
Eight years later, PETA found that little had changed at the kennel—but at the Sheriff’s Office, interest in helping the dogs was no longer a priority, and it stalled for five weeks before finally rendering them aid.
You Can Help!Have you ever bought a dog? If so, you likely contributed to suffering like this! It’s up to all of us to take personal responsibility for stopping the puppy industry’s horrific cruelty.
Please, never buy an animal—adopt instead. Until people stop buying companion animals and the pet trade’s hollow marketing claims, countless individual, sensitive animals will suffer, imprisoned, isolated, and deprived in breeding factories like this one.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is charged with the oversight of kennels like this one and is expected to enforce bare minimum standards for dogs’ care. Please urge MDARD to investigate this kennel immediately and ensure that dogs never again suffer in this breeder’s hands anywhere in Michigan.