Sunday, July 31, 2016

Montana: Lake County Deputy refuses to take no for answer from puppy mill operators Larry and Nadene Latzke; gets search warrant and saves animals

MONTANA -- After more than a DECADE of complaints, the Lake County Sheriff's Department cited Larry and Nadene Latzke (aka Nedene Latzke, Nadine Latzke), the owners of LDR Kennels in Charlo, for Felony Aggravated Animal Cruelty.

After receiving complaints about the kennel a deputy from the Lake County Sheriff's Department wanted to do something about it.

"It's devastating," said Lynette Hinshaw-Duford, 
with Life Savers Animal Rescue. "You drive in front 
of this adorable farm house, and you would never 
know there's a dog on the property, never. You don't 
hear them. You don't see them. The dogs never 
come out of their cages."

"This deputy did some research and went back to 2008," said Lake County Sheriff Don Bell, "where deputies went out there and investigated, and the [owners] would never let them in. You really couldn't do an investigation.

"So he gathered up statements from people that had bought animals from this location, and from that complaint went and took it in front of a judge and got a search warrant to search this place."

The warrant allowed members of the Life Savers Animal Rescue to come in Tuesday afternoon and raid the property.

"When they originally got their search warrant," said Lynette Hinshaw-Duford, "they were told that there were 30 dogs on the property. When they investigated a little further it turned out that there was about 130 dogs on the property."

LSAR was only able to rescue dogs that were deemed in need of [immediate] veterinary care. Dogs that were deemed healthy had to stay because they are still property of the kennel.

Only 11 dogs were removed from the kennel on Tuesday, taken to the Polson area and are now under the temporary care of a veterinarian.

Larry and Nadene Latzke consider this "chicken coop" to be
"state of the art" (their words, not mine) for dog breeding

"The outbuildings are basically the size of a trailer house with a walkway down the middle. The kennels are stacked on top of each other up the sides on each side of you as you walk through the middle. There are 2 to 3 dogs per cage and there are no temperature controls, at least there were not when we were there so it was unbelievably hot inside those buildings.

"The dogs urine and feces fall through the mesh wiring that they are standing on into a tray that Trey is the ceiling for the dogs underneath. The dogs only stand on wire, they don't get to stand on anything flat like a board or a towel they are only on wire all day every day."

They are breeding and selling: Chihuahua, Cockapoo, Maltese, Havanese, Bernese Mountain Dog, Pug, Shih Tzu, West Highland Terrier (aka Westie), Yorkshire Terrier (aka Yorkie), Papillon, Cavapoo, Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature Australian Shepherd (aka Mini Aussie), Affenpinscher, Cardigan Corgi, Scottish Terrier, and probably many more.

All the Latzke's puppy ads have been deleted.

"I believe it's torture to have a dog that is so
severely matted, you can't see its eyes," Hinshaw-Duford
said. "You can't tell if it's a male or a female. Their
teeth were so rotten that you couldn't tell the
age of the dogs."

The court hearing for the owners of the kennel is scheduled for Aug. 10. That is likely when we will know whether the rest of the dogs will be moving out to a different home.

If the rest of those dogs are released, LSAR says what they need most are foster families for the dogs, as well as donations. You can donate through the company's website.

We looked into LDR Kennels and found complaints dating back years with negative and graphic online reviews.

In 2009, there were letters written to the Montana Legislature about the kennels, encouraging a Montana bill be passed so the kennel could be closed. The House voted that bill down.

The Latzkes are listed HERE being on the list to speak in front of the Montana Legislature in April 2009 (do a search by their last name or scroll down to page 2) regarding HB 548, which would have put restrictions on those running puppy mills.

In March 2011, they again went and spoke in front of the legislature - click HERE to see their names listed. Rep. Sue Malek (D), HD 98, opened the hearing on HB 515, Provide for maximum number of dogs and minimum standards of care.

Larry Latzke (LDR Kennels) is listed as one of the speakers scheduled to speak AGAINST the proposed law (page 3). Imagine that!

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service made record requests on the kennel that same year.

"Today the Lake County Sheriff's office served a search warrant, finally forcing the owners to expose the conditions these dogs live their entire lives in. The stench of urine and feces was overwhelming and I am not sure how we are supposed to sleep knowing we only saved a few of the 130 dogs suffering there today. I almost can't put any of this into words.

"Specifically, to the two families who purchased puppies in the middle of this raid, shame on you. The driveway was full of sheriff and rescue vehicles and they still gave those people money for a puppy. Speechless" - Life Savers Animal Rescue Facebook post

From their website:
We are Larry and Nadene Latzke of St Ignatius, Montana. Nadene has been raising quality puppies for over 25 years, and with partial retirement, Larry began working with her in 2002. That is when we began building our new, state of the art kennel here in Montana.

What the Latzkes consider "state of
the art" kennels for running a
puppy mill in Montana

We raise our puppies in the most loving, humane, clean environment possible. They are definitely loved and socialized.

We give our puppies the best veterinary care with our vet. She is one of those vets who simply loves and cares deeply about the animals she treats. She checks every puppy as soon as we wean it, so we know what we have to sell to you. You get the original of her check sheet and we keep a copy.

We live in what we think is a "little bit of heaven" --the Mission Mountain Valley....we can look up and see some snow year around. It's definitely a wonderful place to raise our little darlings. We know you will be delighted with our puppies and that they will make a lifelong friend for you.

We're very proud of our operation and our puppies....they are quality at a reasonable price.

What Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says:

"The smell was really strong -- ammonia. The pens were mesh pens, when they'd use the bathroom they'd fall through the grate on the plastic thing beneath them."

Sheriff Bell plans to present his case Wednesday to the Lake County Attorney's Office for more charges to be filed in the case.

"We're going to show the video and the photos to the county attorney and see where in the law he believes that is something he can charge them with," Bell said.

This gushing August 2007 article about the Latzkes from a magazine/blog called "The Kennel Spotlight: An In-Depth Look at the Heart of the Professional Kennel Industry" says:

"In July, a fire almost took (Nadine Latzke) out. She lost 70 dogs, but in the efforts of saving 30 dogs she was overcome with heat and smoke and could have lost her own life. She cried until September when Larry finally said, "It's time to rebuild and stop this crying". They bought a Southwest Kennel Supply building and PROCEEDED TO FILL IT WITH DOGS PURCHASED FROM SOUTHWEST AUCTION SALES.

They made the move to Montana in 2002 and purchased an additional Southwest Kennel Supply building, in addition to remodeling several existing buildings on the Montana rach. They have now expanded their kennel to include 300 DOGS IN 18 DIFFERENT BREEDS. I saw a range of breeds from Chihuahuas to Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Larry and Nadine sell almost all of their dogs through Kalispell and Missoula newspaper ads to retail customers and THEREFORE, DO NOT NEED A USDA LICENSE. However, they chose to VOLUNTARILY have one (USDA license) as another tool besides their GREAT QUALITY DOGS, CLEAN FACILITIES, AND OUTSTANDING CARE, TO COUNTER THE ATTACKS THAT COME THEIR WAY FROM THE ANIMAL ACTIVISTS IN THE AREA.

Someone want to explain how you can "love" animals and yet stuff 100 dogs into a building and breed the crap out of them? How can you dare to tell the public these animals are raised in "loving homes" when you've got 300 dogs - from Chihuahuas to Bernese Mountain Dogs - breeding and producing non-stop?? And yet... as far back as 2007 - NINE YEARS AGO! - they were claiming harassment from "animal activists". 

I don't have a problem with legitimate breeders who produce a couple litters a year. However, these breeders need to step up and be a voice against these puppy mill operators so the naysayers can quit saying it's just a bunch of animal loonies who have issues with dogs being raised in chicken coops. 

News sources are saying several of the animals seized in the raid have been returned as their injuries have not been deemed "severe enough" to warrant keeping them as evidence.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says it's up to the county attorney to determine what's next.

"I went in and looked at the scene and was surprised myself, (by) the magnitude of it," he said. "But in a lot of the cases they're within Montana law. I may not agree with the conditions there, but if the folks are in Montana law, my hands are [tied]."

(NBC Montana - July 26, 2016)


RIP Penny Bear - puppy mill dog