Rabbit Ridge: Same Old Bad Tricks


It’s been some time since we checked into our first Kennel Campaign kennel, Rabbit Ridge. Too long, it seems.

An August 4th inspection in the USDA APHIS database provides the following rather alarming information (complete inspection report):

There is a hutch style enclosure on the east side of the facility that did not have sufficient shade provided during the day light hours. The location of the enclosure is such that during the late afternoon and early evening hours there is no shade provided for the dog. Dogs that do not have sufficient shade could suffer from heat stress. Dogs must be provided with sufficient shade during the daylight hours for their health and well being at all times.
Licensee fixed at time of inspection.
This is a repeat non compliant item.

This is a focused inspection specifically addressing the Direct non compliant items related to severe heat conditions found during inspections on 2 Aug 2011.
2.40.b 2 – Adequate Veterinary Care – All of the puppies identified during the inspections appear normal. The 15 puppies identified during the focused inspection on 2 Aug 2011 were examined by a veterinarian.

3.2 a – Heating, cooling, and temperature – Two window unit air conditioners were added to the facility for cooling. The temperature at the time of inspection was 83.2 degrees F inside the facility.

3.3 a – Heating, cooling, and temperature – A window unit air condition was added to the facility for cooling. The temperature at the time of inspection was 81.6 degrees F inside of the facility.

Unfortunately, the USDA is not providing a copy of the August 2nd inspection in the APHIS database. I’ve since submitted a FOIA request for this inspection, as well as a Sunshine Law request to the Missouri Department of Agriculture for any recent inspections.

What this inspection does tell us is that there were one or more buildings at Rabbit Ridge that had missing or inadequate cooling on August 2nd. If you’re not familiar with what our weather has been like this summer, on August 2nd, Columbia, Missouri set a record high of 108 degrees F that day. The archived weather forecast for Edina on that day is:

Tue, Aug 2

Day… Very hot and humid. Mostly sunny. High around 101. Highest heat index readings of around 115 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Overnight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 70s. Highest heat index readings of around 111 early in the evening. Southwest wind around 10 mph in the evening becoming light after midnight.

Anyone with any decency would know that in weather like this, you have to provide additional cooling for dogs. You either have to bring them into your home or provide some form of air conditioning. At a minimum, you have to provide shade.

It doesn’t matter that Schrage “fixes” things when he gets busted for violations of MDA and USDA animal welfare laws. What does matter is that Schrage’s history is a pattern of gross animal neglect, corrected only when ordered to do so by USDA or MDA inspectors.

August 2nd…this followed one of the hottest months of July on record. How much did the dogs suffer at Rabbit Ridge before the USDA inspection that forced Schrage to put in window air conditioners? How much did that dog who didn’t have shade suffer?

How many dogs died from heat that we don’t even know about?

Attorney General Koster has been spending considerable time bragging about how things are better for the dogs in Missouri since the new law was put in place to override Proposition B. He’s even created a little web page to this effect. So let’s ask him about Donald Schrage and Rabbit Ridge, and the man’s continuous and re-occurring violations. Let’s ask Koster a question: at what point do we stop holding Schrage’s hand; stop doing inspections every few months because that’s the only way to ensure the animals are given minimal care?

Let’s ask Director Jon Hagler of the Missouri Department of Agriculture how much does it cost the state of Missouri to keep Schrage in business? How many times do we have to re-inspect this man because he always, always has new violations? Consistently, year after year, violation after violation?

And where was the MDA when these dogs were suffering in July?

Bob Baker of MAAL has been talking about how much better things are now with the new Missouri “solution”. Are things better? Because I don’t see that things are better. Busting exactly one breeder a month is not “better”.

Dogs without protection from heat in one of the hottest Missouri summers in record is not “better”.

As soon as I get the requested inspections, I’ll post an update.


APHIS loaded another inspection, but this one is dated August 15th, and is a focused inspection.

Among the problems:

A male Cocker Spaniel with yellow discharge covering both eyes.

A female American Eskimo with dark brown discharge coming from her vulva.

A male Shih Tzu with skin lesions, scabs, and sores.

Two female American Eskimo dogs put in with two larger American Eskimo dogs suffered from bite wounds. “They’ve been fighting since I put them back”, was Schrage’s comment.

These are all repeat violations. Repeat violations.

There were several dogs from the August 2nd inspection, which I still can’t access, that were treated by the vet. Several more not, though.

A male Shih Tzu and a Cocker Spaniel were examined by the vet, and then euthanized. That’s two dogs we couldn’t save with the so-called “Missouri Solution”.

What does it take to close this hell hole down? A news conference?