Morrison County rethinks OK of 600-dog kennel The county has temporarily stopped granting additional permits for commercial dog-breeding kennels. Paul Levy, Star Tribune Last update: February 08, 2006 – 1:05 AM With the "Stop the Puppymill in Morrison County" Internet petition generating more than 15,000 signatures and legal action over a proposed commercial dog-breeding kennel looming this week, county officials took several steps Tuesday to make running such operations in their jurisdiction more difficult.
The county has temporarily stopped granting additional conditional-use permits for commercial dog-breeding kennels. County Administrator Tim Houle said officials are reacting to the barrage of complaints from across the nation over a proposed kennel where owner Gary McDuffee plans to house up to 600 adult dogs and surgically debark some of them.
Adding to the opposition's anger were reports that McDuffee, 52, failed to comply with federal regulations while operating another kennel near Little Falls, Minn.
The county also is asking the state whether it can have direct responsibility for regulating dog breeding and is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to more forcefully handle violations and follow up on earlier citations.
According to USDA reports obtained by the Star Tribune, violations at McDuffee's Happy Tails Kennel included: plastic walls behind dog runs lined with urine and waste buildup; kennels below standard size, and some kennels with exposed, sharp edges.
Inspectors also found expired medical drugs at the facility, and puppies sold before they reached the required minimum age of 8 weeks.
It was McDuffee's decision to debark some of the dogs that triggered an onslaught of criticism from dog lovers and animal activists and prompted the county to send McDuffee a letter Tuesday, asking that he consider using barking collars instead of surgically quieting some of his dogs.
"We have learned that surgical debarking is overwhelmingly disfavored within the veterinary community, and many allege that it is inhumane," wrote Houle and Morrison County Attorney Conrad Freeberg a letter to McDuffee.
McDuffee didn't return several calls by the Star Tribune on Tuesday. In earlier interviews, he has declined to say when his new kennel will open. But he said repeatedly that there never has been a complaint against him in 25 years in the dog-breeding business.
Ten inspection reports between 2000 and 2005 by the USDA indicate otherwise. County officials were trying to get their hands on those USDA reports -- calling and writing to U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and sending letters to U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Mark Dayton, hoping that they can speed up the bureaucratic process, Houle said.
Although McDuffee was listed in 2005 as the CEO of Happy Tails Kennel, he contends that Wanda McDuffee owns and operates that kennel, located near Cushing.
Wanda McDuffee was suspended by the American Kennel Club in 1998, losing her license for 10 years for misrepresenting breeds, said Daisy Okas, of the AKC. It was Gary McDuffee who was the overseer of daily operations at Happy Tails, said Stacy Wise, 20, an employee in 2003.
Gary McDuffee, who plans to retire from his job as a Little Falls special education teacher at the end of the school year, told the Star Tribune in three phone interviews that he, not Wanda McDuffee, would be the owner of the proposed kennel.
The conditional-use permit for the kennel was granted to Gary McDuffee on Jan. 10. Roger Nelson owns the farm next to the 40 acres that McDuffee plans to use for the breeding kennel.
When the county declined Nelson's request for an environmental study before granting McDuffee's permit, Nelson vowed to appeal the board's decision.
Marshall Tanick, the Minneapolis attorney representing Nelson and others fighting the proposed dog-breeding kennel, said he will file the appeal by Thursday.
Hi I am new to this message board and just read about this today here. Does the USDA really grant a license to soemone who wants to own 600 dogs. That just seems crazy to me. I worked at the Humane Society here in San Antonio and a shelter in Austin and we didnt even come close to having 600 dogs and it took a staff of 15-30 to care for the 150 dogs we have in the shelter.
I am not against breeding dogs in any way but that is just ridiculous that someone would want to cage 600 animals for them to make a profit. The USDA needs to get some new rules and a limit to amout of animals that is owned. I breed my dogs but they are first and foremost family pets. I do not breed for money. I breed because I am passionate about my breed (1 breed) and bloodlines. I would love to ask this man some questions and try and figure out how he is going to have 600 happy, healthy and well adjusted animals. How will the puppies get the adequate love and atteniton needed? That just makes me sick. I have been to some large kennels that have about 100 dogs and they are pushing it but are able to make sure the animals are properly cared for. How is he going to be able to keep the puppies free from Coccidia, Kennel cough, Parvo and all those things. This is not the line of work to try and get rich when it comes to a living creature. I am not sure people that want that many animals are mentally stable. I do not mean to offend anyone but come on.
What concerns me is that the most important thing is the barking. Who cares about the barking? The neighbors? To bad, mabey they should have put their foot down and went to the meetings, talked to this a**hole, and said " no way" to this type of nightmare. Yeah, lets get 600 bark collars. Bark collars can burn holes right into the dogs neck if it still keeps barking and freaks out. Do you think with 600 dogs anyone will notice that? What about the dogs? I say to bad for the neighbors. the USDA should stick to meat inspections and livestock. They don't seem to have any clue on what a pet or domestic animal's needs are.
This is an OUTRAGE!! I can't believe that this sorry excuse of a human being is planning to inflate his bank account through the suffering of those poor dogs!! I can only hope that he doesn't get to enjoy a single penny that he earns via this method. How can anybody be so callous and selfish??
What kind of existance would that be for those poor dogs - alot of dogs don't thrive in a kennel situation and soon stop eating, just imagine what this would mean! Is this maggot of a man going to ensure that each and every dog is flea treated, wormed, on heartworm prevention, receive it's puppy shots followed by a booster 12 mths later, groomed and fed properly? will they be kept in a run where they can self exercise? will they have adequate shelter from the winter chill and the summer heat?? will they be bathed and groomed?? Will they be health tested to prevent genetic health problems from being passed on?? Will they be supplied with raw bones to keep their teeth clean?? Will they have their claws clipped when necessary?? how can he keep an eye to ensure that they don't have the runs or vomit or cough or whatever problem can arise??
I would love to have hold of these individuals that granted him a permit....they deserve the guillotine!!