Exclusive video: Alleged puppy mill operator still selling in St - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Exclusive video: Alleged puppy mill operator still selling in Stark County

CANTON, OH (WOIO) -

A Stark County woman has made the list again for the Humane Society of the United States list of 100 problem puppy mills and dog sellers.

Susan Fitzgerald is the owner of Whiskers, Wings and Wild Things located in Canton.

In 2016, the Ohio Department of Agriculture confirms her commercial breeder license revoked for preforming veterinary procedures without a veterinary license.


RELATED: Ohio nearly tops 'Horrible Hundred' puppy mill list, US Humane Society reports


Cleveland 19 News obtained exclusive undercover video from the Humane Society of the United States where Susan Fitzgerald is seen earlier this month talking about the dogs she breeds and what’s available for purchase.

Fitzgerald stated in the video that she has puppies under 8 weeks of age that aren’t ready for sale yet, but older puppies are currently available at her store.

Fitzgerald is accused of being a high-volume breeder with dogs producing nine liters with at least 60 puppies a year.


RELATED: Frequently asked puppy mill questions


The ODA has received multiple complaints, but during recent inspection and spot checks, there hasn’t been evidence of high volume breeding.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, their undercover buyer purchased a puppy from Fitzgerald’s “Old fashioned pet shop” for $800.

The puppy came with “inadequate medical records” that showed the puppy received various vaccinations on May 1.

There was no mention of who the administering veterinarian was. Most of the medical records had several blank entries

The purchased puppy named “Squirrel” was taken to Rascal Animal Hospital in Dublin for inspection.

The dog continues to vomit and has diarrhea. In addition, the vet found two serious flaws. A congenital knee and joint problem and a testicle problem that could lead to cancer.

We spoke with Susan Fitzgerald at her kennel today, who tells us she spoke with the vet and the dog checked out completely normal. According to Dr. Gonzalez, that’s not true.

There was no conversation.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture Fitzgerald pulled the dogs from her store Whiskers, Wings and Wild Things last week and started selling the pups from her home/ kennel in Canton. The ODA says that’s fine, but says she now needs to become a licensed pet shop under the new guidelines.

Legislation passed last year went into effect on May 14, 2018.


RELATED: How to find a responsible dog breeder


The new rule according to the ODA states that if there is a dog, a buyer and a seller in one place, that place is to be a licensed pet store. Fitzgerald was made aware of the requirement. She and the many others selling dogs from their homes have 90 days to comply from May 14, 2018.

Our investigation found Fitzgerald has yet to file. Fitzgerald has 88 days to come into compliance and obtain a pet store license through the state.

Another area of concern is the number of Fitzgerald’s dogs, and their ages, registered with the Stark County Auditor’s Office. According to a public records request into the Stark County Auditor’s Office, Fitzgerald currently has five dogs registered. All of the dogs are at least 1 year old.

There are four females and one male canine registered with tags. According to the auditor’s office, “If she is breeding and selling dogs, she should get a license for all dogs.”

The Auditor’s Office also stated that “although we are aware if the fact she has more than five dogs, we comply with the Attorney General’s opinion concerning kennel owners where all dogs over three months of age must be registered regardless if owned by a kennel operator.

The Humane Society of the United States says this is why we need the Ohio ballot measure. Under current state law, the law does not necessarily exempt breeders who have under 60 breeding dogs.

The threshold is linked to how many pups they sell, not how many breeding dogs they have. And even just 10 or 12 breeding dogs can easily create 60 puppies a year. In addition, it’s clear that any pet store that has six or eight puppies at a time, as we showed in our video, is probably selling more than 60 pups a year.

Click here for more information on the ballot measure.

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