Danger Of Buying Dogs Online - Part 3 - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Danger Of Buying Dogs Online - Part 3

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Wendy Laymon Wendy Laymon
Kennel on Wendy Laymon's property in Rogersville, MO Kennel on Wendy Laymon's property in Rogersville, MO
WMDT's Emily Lampa talks with Jennifer Izzi of Selbyville WMDT's Emily Lampa talks with Jennifer Izzi of Selbyville
Jennifer Izzi's Dog Frank Jennifer Izzi's Dog Frank

WMDT 47 NEWS - In the final part of our in-depth report on online puppy mills, WMDT takes you halfway across the country, where an investigative news crew confronts a convicted puppy mill owner, selling dogs to unsuspecting buyers, under the guise of a pet rescue. She reportedly sold dogs to people all over the US, even here on the shore.

Wendy Laymon now operates in rural Missouri. "From what I understand," says Dan Paul, with the Humane Society of The United States, "the Missouri Department of Agriculture has revoked her rescue license. That's the last I've heard. But whether she's still operating under a different name or a different LLC, that could still be the case."

Laymon has a number of active websites which sell french bulldogs. Hidden camera video, provided to us by our ABC affiliate KOMO 4, shows Laymon doing businesses with the undercover news crew, but refusing to show them her dog cages. Newer kennels were plainly visible from nearby.  But helicopter footage shows rickety outbuildings dotting the backyard.

Animal groups call this a puppy mill. "They may not be covered in feces like we've seen in other puppy mills," Paul explains, "but these are breeding stock. These are dogs that don't get socialized, that live in small cages, that never have companionship. They're literally dog breeding machines, and it's just not right."

In online marketing, Laymon shows a much different reality for the dogs, saying they're "very spoiled and loved", "very well socialized", "they love it here".  Dan Paul says due to a loophole in federal law, "They can put whatever they want to on the website...pictures of happy dogs...wagging tails." Likely not even the dog you were hoping to buy.

No one knows this better than Selbyville dog owner, Jennifer Izzi. Izzi says she found Frank on one of Laymon's alleged pet rescue websites. "I honestly don't know if he would still be alive today, if he was still there," admits Izzi. "I mean he was skin and bones."

She, like countless others, fell prey to an Internet puppy scam. This happens because the federal Animal Welfare Act, passed 47 years ago, allows commercial breeders to sell directly to the public, including over the Internet, without a USDA license. This allows many puppy mills to operate without fear of inspection.

A tearful Jennifer Izzi tells WMDT, "You know, just the fact that anyone can mistreat an animal alone is...but now that I have Frank, picturing him in those conditions, I don't know how people do that to poor defenseless animals"

Attempts were made to talk to Wendy Laymon, but she reportedly backed out of an interview. She did say off camera she sells dogs to a number of satisfied customers nationwide, and has an A-grade from the Better Business Bureau.

The USDA is currently considering a regulatory change that would bring many more Internet breeders under federal oversight, but the fact is, you can never be sure where a puppy comes from unless you see for yourself.

All leading animal welfare groups urge you to never buy a dog online.

If you would like to see the first two parts in this series, see the links below.

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