(WCMH) — A watchdog group says pet brokers are forming their own rescues as another way of selling dogs.
The owners of Little Puppies Online, Nathan and Sara Bazler from Mt. Vernon, have been listed twice in the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill report. The same people are listed as creators of non-profit, Dogs to the Rescue, a registered rescue that sells damaged or defected dogs.
The Ohio State Attorney General says they’ve received three consumer complaints against the business and two charitable complaints against the rescue, but the Bazlers claim they’re doing nothing wrong.
“Ohioans really need to care about this. These animals are being bred in their state and consumers across the country are being frauded because they think they are doing the right thing,” said Mindi Callison, Bailing out Benji founder. “These are man’s best friend we are talking about. We care about them, we share our beds with them.”
There are laws in place that prevent breeders from selling puppy-mill animals, but these limitations have sparked the creation of fraudulent rescue sites such as alleged Little Puppies Online.
“As these cities and states are passing ordinances that are outlawing the sales of puppy mill dogs and cats at pet stores, these businesses are trying to skirt the law, Callison continued.
Their site labels the group as a rescue center that has puppies with deformities at a cheaper price tag.
President Nathan Bazler, owner of LittlePuppiesOnline and Dogs To the Rescue says the group takes animals in need of a home. Ones that were homeless or surrendered by their previous owner.
“The major difference with the dogs that we offer for adoption from Dogs to the Rescue vs. other rescues is that once they are in our USDA and ODA licensed facilities, they are then under strict regulations. Paperwork, husbandry, exercise, and proper vet care are all regulated; all of which is not regulated in a rescue environment in Ohio. The relationship between Little Puppies Online and Dogs to the Rescue is moral, legitimate, and legal,” states Bazler.
The state of Ohio confirmed they’ve received 5 complaints linked to the family. The Maryland Attorney General received 2 and one of them closed in August.
The biggest concern of Bailing out Benji is how the dogs in their care are treated. “When you start looking into these inspection reports he’s basically having these puppies live in a shoebox and the puppies are kept in there until they’re shipped to the person who bought them online or to the pet store that’s buying them, said Callison.
The Humane Society named the company in its horrible hundred report twice in 2017 and in 2020. They cited 26 puppy deaths and not having enough space for animals in cages.
By email, Bazler denied any wrong-doing saying since opening in 2008.
“They have had two citations in twelve years, and both were corrected in the allotted time. We have never had any citations from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, nor have we ever been cited for the death of a puppy.”
In 2017, California made history when it became the first state to prohibit pet stores from selling commercially-bred animals. Maryland followed suit with a similar law in 2018. Hundreds of cities and counties, including Cook County or Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, have also passed retail pet sale bans. A similar bill in Ohio failed a few years ago.
The full statement from Nathan Bazler on LittlePuppiesOnline and Dogs to the Rescue:
In regards to our rescue, Dogs to the Rescue began rescuing dogs in 2018. We filed a 501c3 and a single page paper was sent to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), under the current regulations. The process was simple. So simple, that a representative of our team called the ODA and asked if there was anything else they needed. The ODA responded that we had done what was necessary and that we could continue forward. We asked if certain paperwork needed to be recorded and ODA responded, “we recommend you keep records, but it is not necessary.”
I will assume that you have done a lot of research on this subject, but if not, you may find this all unbelievable. However, when the new ODA laws were passed, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) demanded that all rescues, humane societies, and 501c3’s be exempt from all laws (aside from what is posted below).
To date, Dogs to the Rescue has taken in strays, owner surrenders, and homeless puppies. Each dog is spayed/neutered or the new owner must sign a spay/neuter contract if the vet deems the puppy/dog isn’t ready for the surgery. The major difference with the dogs that we offer for adoption from Dogs to the Rescue vs. other rescues is that once they are in our USDA and ODA licensed facilities, they are then under strict regulations. Paperwork, husbandry, exercise, and proper vet care are all regulated; all of which is not regulated in a rescue environment in Ohio. The relationship between Little Puppies Online and Dogs to the Rescue is moral, legitimate, and legal.
Unfortunately, the rescue, humane society, and shelters of today have changed from what they were intended to be; partially because they are not regulated. You, I, and the general public can not assume a rescue is doing what is right just because they have the label of a rescue. We have done research on many rescues that have tried to attack our business or rallied protests against our other organization, Little Puppies Online. What we have found is that they either refuse to give us or their customers access to records or when pressed by law, (in other states) their records indicate that they have imported thousands of dogs to make sure their humane society remains full. A Google direct search in nearly any market will show you that there are more deplorable rescues than there are pet stores. The reason for this is simply the fact that rescues are not regulated. This is the issue that we’d like to see addressed.
It’s frustrating to see how Bailing out Benji is concerned about Dogs to the Rescue but doesn’t appear to care that Humane Societies are importing thousands of dogs and puppies from Puerto Rico (and other foreign countries before Covid-19 regulations no longer allow this). I think that this is the story that people need to hear so that we can advocate and insist that state laws are changed. We are in support of a system where rescues are required to have documented records on all of their animals. We also believe that humane societies should be held to the same level of accountability in how they are obtaining their dogs and puppies.