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Captain's Story

Captain, a puppy mill - pet store Schipperke with genetic defects that limited his life to 15 months.

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Captain, a puppy mill schipperke sold through Angels Pet World in Hudson, WI. Cappy only lived to be 15 months old..

This is our little Captain, and I want to tell you his story.

       In all my years of having pets, I had never bought a puppy from a store. I'd always gotten rescues and that's what I'll keep doing, but I feel that we were meant to have this particular pet store dog.

Within a few months of his purchase, Captain required knee surgery.       In April of 2007 I purchased a schipperke puppy from Angel's Pet World in Hudson, Wisconsin. We fell in love with him at first sight. We named him Captain.

       Not long after we got him, his problems started. The first was a skin condition, not being able to fight off mites.

       After our vet treated that, a few months went by before we noticed that he wasn't walking quite right. We discovered that he had a patella subluxation (an inherited condition) and needed surgery on his knee. Since our purchase contract stated that the pet store would pay up to purchase price for any surgery needed within the year we got him, we notified Angel, the owner of Angel's Pet World. She said we had to get another opinion from her vet. This vet told me there was nothing wrong with our pup's knees and that I should let him treat Cappie. I declined.

       Our own vet, whom we knew and trusted, did the surgery. Captain came home to heal, but he healed very slowly. Then, one day in February 2008, he fell and tore the ligament in the other knee. We once again took him to Dr. B, who regretfully told us he needed surgery on that knee. She took care of Captain free of charge from that point on.

       This time, after his surgery was done, Cappie stayed at the vet's to heal a little before coming home. We went to see him every day and got regular updates on him from Dr. B. But, once again, Captain just wasn't healing like he should. Dr. B. tested his joint fluid -- and discovered our sweet little dog had systemic lupus (also an inherited disease).

       Our vet made it her quest to do she could for Captain and for us. She contacted canine specialists in Minnesota and tried whatever she could to make him better. Finally, the realization came that, no matter what we did, he was getting worse and worse. We were told that his muscles were turning into mush, and that he eventually wouldn't be able to eat because his head would drop.

In the last days, Captain would fall frequently, but he always valiantly tried to get up and run.       Captain was the most lovable, gentlest creature I have ever seen -- and the most valiant. Even at the end, when he walked knock kneed because of the surgeries, he still tried to run. In his last days, he would fall frequently, but he always tried to get back up.

       On June 10th 2008, my family couldn't bear to see him suffer anymore and Captain went to sleep. He was only fifteen months old.

       It breaks my heart to this day knowing that a part of our family was genetically messed up and never had a chance at life. That there is a breeder out there who is continuously breeding Captain's genes - and that more puppies will die. We must put an end to this horrendous act of none other than ignorance and greed!

       Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I didn't want it going untold.


Captain, a puppy mill - pet store Schipperke with genetic defects that limited his life to 15 months.


Breeder:  Duane L. Spoelstra under Menning Enterprises, Inc.
Sire:  Buttermilk Charlie
Dam:  Spoelstra's Priscilla
Litter #co7xzar392


NOTE: USDA Inspection Reports showed that in September 2007, five months after Captain's purchase, Duane Spoelstra, doing business as Gus's Kennels in Balaton, MN, gave up his USDA Class A breeder's license because he intended to discontinue breeding.

USDA records show that Menning Enterprises, Inc., Edgerton, MN, holds a Class B license as a dealer. Though there were no non-compliances in their April 2009 reports, earlier reports show repeated violations of record-keeping regulations concerning from whom puppies were obtained, as well as violations for transporting puppies younger than the mandated age of 8 weeks (a more comprehensive report shows that violations for transporting underage pups go back as far as 2003). The January 2008 inspection report also shows that Menning Enterprises knowingly obtained puppies from breeders who were required to be licensed but did not at the time hold valid licenses.

 pawprint bullet point   Read more comprehensive report here (pdf).   pawprint bullet point


 pawprint bullet point   List of Active Licensees and Registrants under the AWA (pdf)   pawprint bullet point   AWA Inspection and Annual Reports   pawprint bullet point

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