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Fined Dealer Sold Animals to Missouri Researchers

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The USDA has shut down an Arkansas animal dealer that sold dogs to research facilities in Missouri, including the University of Missouri Columbia.

The agency has permanently revoked C.C. Baird's license and fined Martin Creek Kennels in Williford, Arkansas more than $260,000.

Among hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the USDA found some of the animals at the kennels had been stolen from pet owners.

The University of Missouri at Columbia had received dogs from the kennel within the last year. Spokesperson Christian Basi says they were disappointed to learn about the kennel's violations.

"We only buy animals for research from licensed USDA dealers, so we rely on the USDA licensing process to identify and license those dealers that have shown that they can provide us with licensed animals," Basi said.

He says the university's researchers check dogs for micro-chips and tattoos, as well as if they've been spayed or neutered to ensure that the animals were not pets.

Jefferson College in Arnold, Missouri also confirmed having bought animals from the kennel.

Chris DeRose, with the group Last Chance for Animals, says his organization helped uncover abuse of animals at the facility.

DeRose says the investigation led to the USDA's largest case against such a dealer.

"It's the most fines that have ever been collected cumulatively in the last 40 years of the Animal Welfare Act," DeRose said. "This is by far the biggest ever."

The U.S. Attorneys office in Little Rock opened an investigation into Baird and the kennel in 2003, but officials said they could not comment.