Platteville dog breeder named in ‘Horrible Hundred’ report

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Debbie Sweeney knew exactly what type of dog she wanted to replace her late Callie.

She wanted a Golden Retriever.

She wanted a male.

She even had a specific color in mind.

She started searching on Google for breeders and browsed all the popular puppy websites until she found “the one.”

“We just wanted a good family dog,” Sweeney said.

She drove across the state to Platteville to pick up her new dog and headed back home.

“We picked him up on Monday and by Thursday he was in the E.R.,” she said.

In a few days cash was diagnosed with Parvovirus, a high contagious disease that’s especially dangerous even fatal for puppies. After more than a week at the vet, the bill was over $8500, and prompted the dog’s new name, Cash.

Debbie Sweeney's dog, Cash

Courtesy: Debbie Sweeney

The state licensed breeder, Amos Allgyer, who sold Sweeney Cash would end up pleaded guilty to selling sick dogs. The penalty was a payment of $664.50, the total of the $400 civil forfeiture and court costs. Allgyer would keep his license.

“That’s whatever. You can do whatever you want,” Allgyer said when asked for comment.

When asked if he would show a News 3 Now around his breeding facility, where he normally keeps over 70 dogs, Allgyer said he doesn’t allow others inside for health reasons.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection regulates and inspects dog breeders and sellers. Inspection reports show violations before and after the sale of Cash.

“All I can say there is that we did follow up and did not find on our reinspections any other violations that were related to the health of the animals,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Darlene Konkle, DATCP.

“The action we take is what we consider to be the lowest level of enforcement action that will be the most effective in gaining future compliance,” said DATCP spokesperson Kevin Hoffman about the department’s enforcement approach.

That response didn’t sit well with State Rep. LaKeshia Myers (D-12th).

“That is a very interesting take on their enforcement methods,” said Rep. Myers, who introduced a bill this session to fund additional DATCP animal inspectors.

“That’s surprising to me because you’d think as a repeat offender, you’d have to lay down the law so to speak and revoke licenses,” she said.

Since 2016, DATCP has issued the following penalties to dog breeders:

  • 18 conditional licenses ordered
  • 25 civil forfeitures
  • 8 voided1 revocation
  • 1 suspension

Allgyer’s history landed him on the The Humane Society of The United States’ Horrible Hundred Report.

“(It’s) to educate the public about 100 problematic puppy mills to help guide their decision making buying a pet,” said John Goodwin, the Senior Director of the Stop Puppy Mills Campaign – Humane Society of the United States.

The HSUS recommends adopting a dog from a shelter, but if you buy from a breeder then encourage consumers to meet the breeder, meet the mother dog, and see where the mother dog lives.

One red flag to watch for is the seller asking to meet in a neutral location like a parking lot.

“The one thing they all have in common is that those sales mediums keep the consumer away from the kennel where the parent dogs live,” says Goodwin.

Other resources and advice for buying a healthy pet can be found here.

The state does not offer a database of breeder inspections and are only available through an open records request.