Rabbit Ridge: of Starving Dogs and Extreme Heat

The USDA has released a relatively complete set of inspections for Rabbit Ridge including the missing August 2nd inspection, as well as newer ones at the end of November. However, they did remove the inspection for November 29, but not before I got a copy (pages twothreefour, and five).

Though the inspections state that the USDA APHIS inspector was accompanied by a VMO, which I believe is a representative from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the MDA shows no new inspections since August, 2011.

From the August 2 inspection:

There was a black Schnauzer puppy (with no ID, DOB 6-2-2011) who had recently had his ears cropped. The licensee stated that he cropped the ears himself in the Whelping Building when the dog was 3 weeks old. He said he gave the puppies a shot to put them down. He stated it was the same stuff the vet uses. He stated he used Rompun at a dose of 0.1cc/pound but no pain-relieving drugs. He stated he waited 10 minutes after injection before performing the surgery. He stated if bleeding occurred, he used blood stop sticks. The licensee showed the inspectors the table and equipment he used to conduct the surgery. The table was a wooden counter in a room containing a variety of items such as dog food, trash bins, a refrigerator, and medications. The walls, floors, and ceilings in that room were dirty and grimy, The licensee stated he dipped the equipment in rubbing alcohol prior to use. The bottle of alcohol he showed the inspectors contained a liquid that was discolored and yellow in appearance, did not smell like alcohol, containing a dead floating insect, and no cap. The licensee showed the inspectors the clamps and the razor blades used to cut the ears. The licensee is not a veterinarian and is not trained or qualified to safely conduct painful, surgical procedures involving the amputation of tissue.

But wait…there’s more…

The whelping building had a temperature of 98.8F with a heat index of 120.5F at approximately 1730 hours. There were 15 puppies showing signs such as: excessive wide mouths, panting, vocalizing, and/or tongue lolling. The puppies were lying separated from one another rather than close together. All of the puppies were lethargic and some did not respond to being stepped on by their littermates. One male Daschund puppy (DOB 21 June 2011) was propped against his water bowl, wobbling his head and then suddenly slumped over and fell on his side.

A heat index of 120.5 F. What could possibly exceed this?

Unfortunately, we found out in November. On November 29:

A black male poodle (identification number 143) is emaciated. There is virtually no fleshy covering over his ribs, hip bones, or back bone. The muscle mass over his thighs and shoulders is greatly reduced. His shoulder structures, including his scapulas, are very prominent with virtually no fleshy covering. The licensee stated that the dog has been moved from an outdoor enclosure to its current sheltered enclosure one week ago and was “normal” at that time. He stated that this dog has not previously been housed with its two current cage mates. One food receptacle with dog food was located in the outside half of the enclosure; the dog was in the sheltered part of the enclosure at the time of the inspection. The licensee stated he knew that the dog had difficulty going in and out of the dog door to move between the indoor and outdoor portions of the enclosure. He stated he had been trying to teach the dog to use the door and had propped it open slightly. Dogs can lose large amounts of weight due to poor nutrition, lack of access to food, or a variety of serious medical conditions.

From a follow up inspection, on November 30.

The non-compliant item has been corrected: the dog was euthanized by the Attending Veterinarian.

What more is there for me to say? To the USDA and MDA, what amounts to starving a dog to death is acceptable.

This is the “compromise” arranged by Governor Nixon. This, the result from the state legislature overriding the vote of the people to undermine Proposition B.

So Happy New Year Governor Nixon, MDA Director Jon Hagler, and Missouri representatives, such as Brian Munzlinger, who has complained because we in the animal welfare community have been harassing this fine upstanding breeder. Happy New Year, AG Koster, who seems to have found only four bad breeders among all the thousands in Missouri (and only seems interested in unlicensed breeders).

Congratulations on a job well done in 2011.


Rabbit Ridge: Recent Missouri Department of Agriculture Inspections

I just received the recent inspections for Rabbit Ridge from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This joins with the recent USDA inspections.

As you can see, the MDA has had to do three inspections since April. The MDA also found problems at Rabbit Ridge—some very significant, such as dog with mats, hair loss, and wounds on his feet.

I still don’t have the August 2nd inspection from the USDA. In fact, the USDA pulled the August 15/16 inspections from the APHIS database, though I have a copy linked in my Sept 3 Rabbit Ridge writing.

One thing I like about the MDA reports: they provide the count of adult dogs and puppies. According to the inspection in June, Schrage has 204 adult dogs, 72 puppies, for a total of 276 dogs.

I also estimate that this one breeder has had to be inspected over 10 times so far this year, and there’s still 3 1/2 months more to go in 2011.

State Senator Munzlinger once responded to someone in his district who questioned him on Rabbit Ridge, “I find it disconcerting that some people are willing to ruin the reputation of a licensed breeder in good standing based on personal agendas and rumors.”

You can’t ruin what’s already crap, Senator.


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?



Senator Munzlinger responds about Rabbit Ridge

A fellow Missourian, Taunia Adams, emailed Senator Munzlinger, the state Senator for the Rabbit Ridge kennel district, about the kennel. Following in his response to her:

You are right in assuming that I do not advocate for animal cruelty. I read this blog post and did some investigating. I spoke with the Director’s office at the Department of Agriculture (MDA) and they performed an on-site investigation on May 12 at the Rabbit Ridge Kennel. According to the MDA, there was one very minor violation. Other than that, everything was in order. The blog post cites previous USDA inspections. I’m sure you’re aware that the Federal government is out of my jurisdiction and I’m not an expert on their inspection standards or punitive policies.

I’ve heard from several Missouri residents in response to this blog post, including the veterinarian on record for Rabbit Ridge. He corroborated the results of the MDA’s investigation. I find it disconcerting that some people are willing to ruin the reputation of a licensed breeder in good standing based on personal agendas and rumors.

Also, I must disagree with you regarding my support of Senate Bill 161. Proposition B, as passed by the voters, did nothing to address the problem of unlicensed breeders in our state and provided no funding to allow the MDA to step up inspections and enforcement. The compromise language allows good, law-abiding breeders to remain in business, while giving the Department the tools they need to increase enforcement.


Senator Brian Munzlinger
District 18
State Capitol – Room 426
(573) 751.7985

As I noted earlier, the veterinarian for Rabbit Ridge, Jim Foster, posted a now-pulled Facebook entry that he had been at the breeder with the MDA for the inspection that Senator Munzlinger noted. Now, the veterinarian may have been at the breeder by coincidence, or he and/or the breeder may have been notified by the MDA prior to the inspection that the inspector was going to be at the kennel that day—hard to say.
screen shot of vet discussing breeder visit

We have no idea what the “minor violation” is, since the good Senator didn’t identify it. I’m assuming it could be a repeat of the last MDA violation: a build up of dirt, grime, and cobwebs in the kennel buildings.

We have a breeder who has racked up hundreds, maybe even thousands, of serious violations over the years, suddenly having no violations. And we have an MDA inspection report that differs from the last two USDA inspections. So where is the truth in all of this?

Thanks to the amendment stuck into the bill on blasting in last year’s legislature, no one from any animal welfare organization can accompany an MDA inspector to verify the accuracy of the department’s reporting. No, not even a representative from MAAL or the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO), both of whom worked with Governor Nixon and the MDA to toss out Proposition B in favor of the “compromise” SB 161. And frankly, after three failed audits, and the department’s actions regarding the Proposition B vote, I don’t have a lot of faith in the MDA.

My next action is to contact the USDA for any and all photos that it’s inspectors have taken of Rabbit Ridge. Because of the failures in the March and April inspections, the USDA should also be inspecting the breeder in the next couple of months, so will see how that inspection goes.

Well, unless I’m taken away by the FBI for being a terrorist because of my activity, that is.

another fb screenshot where I'm accused of terrorism