A woman who served jail time near Seattle, Wash., for controversial dog breeding practices is now selling dogs online. On Sunday, Feb. 24, KOMO 4 News reported that Wendy Laymon, who was convicted of animal cruelty in 1999, continues to sell dogs over the Internet due to a loophole in federal regulations. According to Seattle area animal rescue PAWS, Laymon has had multiple animal cruelty cases filed against her with a number of convictions.
PAWS worked with the Snohomish County Prosecutor and the Snohomish County Licensing Department in 1999 to bring Laymon to court, where she pled guilty on six counts of doing business without a kennel license. Laymon was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $2,400 fine. Upon her release, she was restricted from owning or selling animals in Washington State for two years.
Laymon has now relocated to Missouri, where she has opened a commercial breeding facility with as many as 100 dogs, according to government documents. Laymon also runs a website that calls itself a "non-profit, rescue adoption agency" for dogs in puppy mills.
According to KOMO 4 News, several sources say that Laymon is selling dogs for $1,000 or more.
One pet owner discussed her experience with Laymon approximately one year ago.
"The most petrified animal I’ve ever seen in my life," stated Jennifer Izzi, who adopted Frankie, a French bulldog who she found on the adoption website for $900 plus shipping.
Izzi, of Selbyville, Delaware, stated that when Frankie arrived, he was "skin and bones." The dog arrived with 50 other dogs in a van and was afraid to walk on grass or on the stairs.
Izzi's vet stated that Frankie was malnourished and had ear infections and kennel cough.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, Laymon's operation is a puppy mill. Puppy mills are frequently associated with animal cruelty cases, as they house large quantities of dogs for the specific purpose of producing puppies. Many of the parent dogs are never socialized and live their entire lives in cages.
According to animal welfare experts, puppy mill dogs suffer from illnesses and genetic defects at a higher rate than non-puppy mill dogs. Animal welfare advocates do not condone buying pets from puppy mills or backyard breeders.
"They’re literally dog-breeding machines," stated Dan Paul of the Humane Society of the United States, "and it’s just not right."
The Humane Society called Laymon’s operation in 2010 and 2011 one of Missouri’s "dirty dozen" puppy mills. They describe a long list of violations in neglecting to provide care for her animals.
Missouri state inspectors have found serious violations of animal care regulations, including a two-year period where they found no inspections by an attending veterinarian as law requires.
Laymon signed a federal consent order admitting to willfully violating the Animal Care Act. As part of that agreement, she lost her USDA license to sell to pet stores, received a fine, and was ordered to improve conditions for her animals.
KOMO 4 News visited Laymon's property, near Rogersville, Missouri, but she refused to show KOMO a number of outbuildings behind her home that were clearly visible from nearby.
Laymon continues to sell puppies without a USDA license, as federal regulations do not prevent her from selling dogs directly to buyers over the Internet.
"The law was written before the Internet. So now there’s a giant loophole for sellers that want to sell directly to the public via the Internet," stated Paul.
"No inspections. And the Internet is the 'puppy miller's' best friend."
Those who saw Laymon's Washington puppy mill in 1999 called the conditions "horrific," with dogs matted with feces, the stench of urine, and multiple cages stacked atop one another.
Last Friday, Feb. 22, the State of Missouri issued Laymon another formal warning letter after finding violations during the most recent inspection.
PAWS advises the following if you have purchased a dog from Laymon:
- Call your city or county prosecutor, alert them to Wendy Laymon's history and ask that they investigate whether your area has any laws she can be charged under (including consumer fraud, zoning, and licensing).
- Notify county and city shelters in your area and give them the information on Laymon's background and ask them to spread the word.
- Post your experiences on Internet bulletin boards such as Craig's List and Pet Finder in order to spread the word about her. Wendy Laymon frequently advertises puppies in newspapers so if you see an ad, alert the paper to her business practices and request that they not allow her to advertise with them.
- If you did purchase a dog from Laymon there are a couple additional steps you can take. Alert your veterinarian of your dog's history and potential exposure to the various infections listed above. We also suggest you spay or neuter the dog because of his/her poor genetics.
- To those of you who paid Laymon, especially those of you who paid in cash, alert the Better Business Bureau and IRS.
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
Have you purchased a dog from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder? If so, please comment below.
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