You must travel back in time to understand and appreciate the deal the Missouri Department of Agriculture cut with a notorious puppy mill operator.
In 2007, dog breeder Jewel Bond had already been cited repeatedly for more than a decade for violations of animal protection laws.
Both federal and state inspectors determined that she was unable to care for her dogs. The USDA had fined her thousands of dollars on two seperate occasions and took away her federal license.
But, in 2007, Bond had her toughest challenge with MODA, which regulates animal breeders. She faced prosecution for violating animal welfare laws. Instead of prosecuting her the Missouri Department of Agriculture cut her a deal that allowed her to "surrender" more than 100 dogs and put them up for sale. Bond turned a $28,000 profit from the sale, and according to a bill for the sale she paid $3,400 for dogs sold at auction. jewel bond's 2007 auction bill.pdf
Last month, police and animal welfare agencies raided the Bond operation and "seized" more than 200 of her dogs, perhaps some of the same dogs she "surrendered" and bought back at auction. This time Bond was charged and will not profit from the sale of her dogs. The animals are now at the Missouri Humane Society.
Under the Missouri Open Records Act, we obtained copies of the Bond settlement and other deals cut by MODA in recent years. Dog Breeder settlement agreements.pdf
Dr. Jon Hagler, the current Director of MODA, is reviewing policies relating to settlements and auctions involving animals taken from breeders. He says our investigation helped push him in that direction.
We'll check back with MODA and see what, if any, policies change as a result of the department's review.