WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — A Hubertus man has been formally charged after he allegedly illegally transported nearly 50 puppies across state lines in the bed of his truck.
Colton Brooder, 34, is charged with three counts of operating as an unlicensed dog breeder or dealer and three counts of animal abuse – intentional or negligent violation.
Deputies responded to a home in the village of Richfield on September 2 after receiving a call from a concerned citizen. A criminal complaint says the caller reported reading multiple Facebook posts from Brooder indicating that he had more than 20 puppies in the bed of his pickup truck and more than 20 additional puppies in the cab of his truck.
The caller said she believed Brooder was planning to sell the puppies and was not equipped to deal with them.
A responding assistant arrived at Brooder’s home and discovered numerous small dog kennels stacked in the bed of the truck and tied down. Each kennel contained several puppies. The deputy also located additional kennels stacked inside the truck.
The complaint says Brooder admitted to driving to several southern states where he picked up about 50 puppies. He claimed to work for a rescue group, but noted that the animals had not been seen by a veterinarian.
After speaking with an employee of the Washington County Humane Society, authorities learned that a person cannot transport puppies across state lines without first seeing a veterinarian. Officials also learned that Brooder had not worked with the rescue group he claimed to be helping.
The puppies were then given to the Washington County Humane Society for examination, treatment and adoption.
Humane Society employees noted that the crates removed from Brooder’s truck were held down with a ratchet strap. One of the crates was “poorly crushed” and none of the crates contained any food or water.
A total of 46 puppies and one adult dog were removed from the truck. The humane society found that the overall health of the puppies appeared to be good, but confirmed that the conditions were inhumane.
When questioned, Brooder told detectives he had stopped in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma to pick up the dogs, traveling on major highways with the puppies stacked in crates in the bed of his truck.
Authorities determined that the distance between Brooder’s last pick-up location and his home in Wisconsin was more than 12 hours, and the distance between stops ranged between two and four hours. The weather during Brooder’s journey varied between 85 and 95 degrees at the places he traveled.
Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health, confirmed that dogs cannot be brought into the state without a valid veterinary inspection certificate. Also, no one can operate as a dog dealer without an annual license from the department.
Detectives determined that Brooder did not hold a breeder’s license in the state and did not have valid veterinary certificates for any of the dogs transported to Wisconsin.
A first court appearance is scheduled for November 7.