Retail Rescue Raises Its Ugly Head Again

With this latest story of anti-breeder behavior by not only rescues but police authorities, I am almost speechless. (Notice, I said almost). This year of 2014 has been horrendous with regards to total lack of sanity in the dog world.

It has become an almost daily battle to retain our Fourth Amendment Rights and to feel safe in our homes.

It has become acceptable for someone to call themselves a rescue, remain totally unregulated, and proceed to pillage and profit, instigate unethical and illegal activities with the support from the police. 

It has become commonplace to assume guilt before innocence of private citizens, ESPECIALLY if there is money to be made or a cute puppy to be had.

I made mention of this recent situation along with many other horrifying stories on my Adopt Don’t Shop Meme Debunked page. That brought “rescue” fringe group out of the woodwork in droves with their deluge of comments that I was…

a liar”, “an idiot”, “mentally ill” and one of my personal favorites, “f**king stupid and needs to be tied to railroad tracks. F**king idiot c**ts” . 

If nothing else, those comments show the public what type of people they would be dealing with if they tried to “adopt” from those “rescues”.  

But I digress. Let’s talk about Mr and Mrs Bass’ experience with retail rescue. 

They live in Waukegan, IL with their children and Old English Bulldog. They bred their bulldog and had a lovely litter of puppies growing fat and sassy. The Bass’ had found buyers for most of the puppies. Contracts had been signed and money exchanged. The puppies were still with their dam at the Bass’ home, waiting to go to their new owners in a few weeks.  The puppies were in good condition, clean and fed. 

Do you see what I see? 

  • One litter of puppies
  • In the home, not a kennel, not a barn, not a cage
  • Contracts required for purchase of puppies
  • Waiting a reasonable age to go to new homes

That doesn’t sound like some disgusting puppy mill activity to me. Does it to you??? Sounds like a breeder enjoying an occasional litter to sell to approved homes.

But apparently a rescue about 70 miles away didn’t like the idea these people were selling their puppies. They found the ad on Craigslist and contacted the Bass family several times asking to buy a puppy. This person never identified herself as a volunteer for the rescue.

After some back and forth communications, Mr. Bass decided to meet with this woman.

At some point a police officer stood in for this buyer. When they arrived at the house, Mrs. Bass asked who she was and the officer did not identify herself as a police officer. She said she was the woman who started the initial contact to purchase a puppy. In other words, she lied. But that's apprently ok because she is a police officer.

Now, if a police officer says they want to come in, you have the right to refuse and tell them they need a warrant to come into your home. But if you have no idea they are law enforcement??

I'm not an attorney so I can't speak to the legality of that situation, but it sure feels at the very least unethical and immoral.

The officer met Mr Bass, signed the contract and gave him money. There was NO puppy given in return for the money. Remember, they were too young to leave their dam, so the sale is still incomplete.

The Law

Why were the police interested in the sale of puppies? Because in the city of Waukagen, you need a $25 breeding license to sell puppies. And if you don’t have that license, you can be fined up to $750.

"Sec. 4-67. - Animal breeding license requirement.

(a) License required. It shall be unlawful to act as an animal breeder in the city without a breeder's license for that animal issued pursuant to this section."

"Sec. 4-19. - Penalty.

(b) Any violation of this chapter, except in the case of a misdemeanor violation, is a civil offense punishable by a maximum civil penalty not to exceed $750.00. Each separate incident or animal so mistreated constitutes a separate offense."

So, yup, the Bass family should have gotten a license. Most reasonable people would think, OK, ante up, gotta get the license and pay a hefty fine. But that wasn't good enough for these guys. Why follow the law when you can screw a man out of some valuable goods?

Before I get back to this story, let's play a game. Pretend you are a person who just moved into Waukegan. You are a fine, upstanding dog breeder who wants to know what the city may require of you in order to breed your dog on occasion. Here is the link to the city website.

See if you can find mention of a need for a breeding license and of course the actual form. My feeling is if it's so important that a sting operation is needed, that they would make this information easy to find. Leave a comment at the end of this page on your results.

Let’s go back to the situation with Mr Bass and the police to see what happened next. 

After money (but not a puppy) was exchanged, a bunch of police jumped out and arrested Mr. Bass in a big “bust” scenario. Then with the retail rescue woman present, in front of children, confiscated the puppies. 


"Sec. 4-16. - Impoundment.

(a) A police officer or animal control officer shall have the authority to obtain the necessary legal process to allow him or her to enter or cause to have entered a building or premises in order to seize and impound at the city police animal control, and have examined by a licensed veterinarian:..."

Note, the phrase is “… have the authority to obtain the necessary legal process..."

There was no legal process performed, no search warrant was obtained to enter the home. So much for Fourth Amendment Rights.

Has martial law been declared in Waukagen?

Have Constitutional rights been suspended???

The Perks of Being a Retail Rescue

The 6 week old, too-young-to-leave-their-dam puppies were given to this “rescue”, Wags 2 Wishes“One of the best rescues” is how the Waukagen police described them on their Facebook page. (That is, before they erased the entire post after the outrage from the Facebook community at what had happened.) 

At this point I can no longer call these organizations “rescues”. It sticks in my craw. Even "retail rescue" gives it too much legitimacy.

I did find a term that I think better describes these groups. It is a pretty neutral description at this time and was on the Waukagen City webpage on animal law. 

From now on, I am calling all groups who exchange animals for money, that they have not personally bred, a Pet Trader. 

"Pet trader means a person or establishment who exchanges, for consideration other than nominal consideration, dogs or cats, regardless of the age of the dog or the cat."

Rescues are a thing of the past to me. Rescue is dead. They killed it. Long live Pet Trader??

So, now let’s turn our attention to the Wags 2 Wishes, the Pet Trader in this incident.

According to their website they are licensed and have applied for their charitable organization status but have not yet obtained it. I checked the government website for charitable organizations and they are not yet listed. 

Which is no biggy. You can do business as a Pet Trader even if you aren’t non-profit or decide not to file an application for a charitable organization. You just have to be sure to let people know that their donations may not be NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE. And the Pet Trader would have to charge sales tax. 

The document found on the Illinois government website states they are allowed 10 foster dogs and are “Not in good standing”. I have no clue what that means. Maybe it’s just because the paperwork is incomplete or maybe something significant. I haven’t found out yet.

UPDATE 12/30/2014: Wags 2 Wishes has updated their status with the state by completing their application for a license yesterday. The "not in good standing" status has changed to "active".

By their own standards I would think that it would be fair to confiscate all their dogs immediately for failing to submit the required documentation in a timely manner. After all, that is what happened to the Bass family and they think that is justified..

The pet trader posted on her personal FB page NOT TO SHARE the info about the puppies being available as she would have plenty of takers without any advertising. The usual comments from her supporters said how wonderful it was she “saved” these puppies and wanted to know when they could buy one.  CA-CHINGGG!!!!

The Waukagen Police Animal Control said they saved the puppies from an “unknown fate”. Uh, excuse me?? Contracts were signed by anxiously awaiting families for these pups. Unknown, my ass.

The Animal Control Facebook page showed people already lining up to buy these pups. 

“we want one, we want one!!!” 

Funny how it's fine to drool over well bred pups when they can get them from the pet trader who essentially stole them from the breeder, but those same people would be screaming about how dare a breeder offer puppies for sale.

Funny how it's fine to sell puppies taken only weeks before sale and get $600 per puppy that you haven't spent a dime on and then beg for donations for "medical care" What medical care"? The breeder had just taken them to the vet. They had no medical issues.

But, hey, let's get the public to THINK they need care and the money rolls on in. That's thousands of dollars in income for one day playing sting operation.

Needless to say, the outrage from the rest of the world made the police and the pet trader remove any vestiges of selling the puppies off those pages.

The pet trader says they no longer have the puppies due to personal threats. For as much as I have been scouring the social media since this started, I have seen no threats. Outrage at the callused treatment of people and pets, but no threats. But I've come to know that is the first thing they start screaming, true or not. 

But if there were some threats, I apologize for whoever did that. It wasn’t right, but then your kind has no problems threatening breeders all the time, so my sympathy is limited.

Besides, when you get your hand caught in the cookie jar you have to take the risk of getting a finger or two pinched from time to time.

The Puppies

Here are photos of two of the charmers before all this happened. In great health and clean as a whistle.

retail rescue stolen puppyHe just wants to go home!
puppy stolen by rescueTime to find these little guys and bring them back to their dam

 Where are these puppies?? They were healthy when they left home, but how are they faring now with all this shuttling around thither and yon? Will the city be liable if they get sick? Do they care?

How can anyone in their right mind think these pups are being treated as they should be rather than simply product for re-sale by the retail rescue?(Ooops, sorry... I meant pet trader.)

Hopefully, this will be quickly decided. From what I hear City Hall is all a-buzz about this. I hope with the right conclusions.

Time will tell.

“You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.”

~ President Lyndon B. Johnson

You got that right, L.B.J.!!!

UPDATE 12/30/2014: Apparently another breeder had the same thing happen to him the same day the Bass' had their puppies seized. He was coerced in to signing over the one Chihuahua puppy in the litter by being told the police would take the parents as well if he didn't.  Sounds like quite the business they have going.

Breeder: 1, Retail Rescue and Law Enforcement: 0

It's Nice to Win Once in a While

UPDATE 1/7/2015: According to the owner she was told by the Mayor that the police officer involved is now on administrative leave following and investigation, Wags 2 Wishes will also be investigated.

The Bass' were able to obtain a breeder's license and the most important fact of all.... the puppies are now back with the breeder after exam by their vet. The pups will continue to be evaluated by the vet over the next few weeks to make sure they are not ill from the experience.

Ooops, even further additional update... the police officer has been relieved of her duties permanently. 

So just for future reference, where does this fabulous Wags 2 Wishes sell their puppies? Hang on to your hats. They are planning to set up a wall of cages in a pet store to sell them... kinda like breeders used to sell in pet stores but now, it's not politically correct unless the dog is from a rescue mill.

And in this case, a rescue mill willing to steal purebred dogs from breeders. 

  1. shelties
  2.  ›
  3. sheltie breeders
  4.  ›
  5. retail-rescue