By Cheryl Fiandaca

OXFORD (CBS) – It’s been nearly two years since the I-Team first uncovered issues with conditions at Laughlin Kennel in Oxford. Customers complained the dogs they bought were sick, and a former employee told us the animals were crammed in cages that were too small.

In the last several months, the kennel’s owners have been fined thousands of dollars for a number violations at the facility.

Inspectors found puppies stacked in cages that were too small. One report described cages with no water on a day when the temperature inside the kennel was 86 degrees.

A dog bought in 2016 from Laughlin Kennel in Oxford became sick days later. (WBZ-TV)

When the I-Team went to talk to Kennel owner Robert Fink, he denied selling sick dogs and told us all of the violations have been corrected.

Fink refused to let our cameras into the basement where the dogs are kept, but he did allow WBZ-TV’s chief investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca to take a look.

She saw conditions similar to those described by state inspectors.

Laughlin had about 100 caged puppies in small rooms. Some of the cages were dirty and none had bedding. A worker was cleaning one of the rooms where a note on the door read “Washed October 9.” We were there on November 1.

Robert Fink of Laughlin Kennel. (WBZ-TV)

We saw dozens of dogs in a quarantine room and Fink admitted that more than 30 of the dogs were sick at the time of our visit. But he told us that he does not sell any of the sick puppies until they are well.

Our visit to Laughlin came after the I-Team uncovered dozens of complaints made to the State Department of Agriculture resources, many from customers who say they bought sick dogs and spent thousands on vet bills. Some say their dogs died.

Katelyn Richard is one of those customers. She says Laughlin sold her a dog with pneumonia and within days of taking Cali home the King Charles Cavalier was critically ill. The dog spent weeks fighting for her life including several days hospitalized in a special tent to treat her lungs.

Laughlin offered to take the dog back and refund Katelyn’s money, but she refused and now plans to sue the kennel.

Katelyn Richard’s dog, which was sick after being adopted from an Oxford kennel. (WBZ-TV)

Back in 2016, the I-Team interviewed a former employee who showed us video of a mastiff with a severely deformed leg that he claimed was the result of being kept in a cage half his size.

We wanted to ask the Department of Agricultural Resources why it has taken them years to take any action against the kennel, but they refused our request for an interview.

In a statement a spokesperson said the department “has routinely inspected Laughlin … investigated all complaints and taken disciplinary action when violations were found.”

This year the Humane Society of America named Laughlin one of the Horrible Hundred Puppy Dealers and government records show Laughlin bought dogs from puppy mills.

We asked if Fink thought the conditions in the basement where he keeps the dogs are humane. He said yes and that they will go to good homes. He went on to tell us it’s a good business.

Laughlin is appealing the state fines and has a hearing in January. The kennel is also fighting the town of Oxford after receiving a cease and desist order for running a commercial business in a residential neighborhood.  That too is under appeal.

Cheryl Fiandaca

Comments (5)
  1. Thank you Cheryl for taking this horrible situation to light. I am in tears over the physical and mental abuse these poor innocent animal have to endure because of a money hungry you know what! Please do not give up on this injustice to these poor puppies Cheryl. What can we do to help them.

  2. OMG- I got my doodle from here and he is just a love. This makes me sad this was the environment he had to live in. I dont regret buying him from here b/c these puppies need a good home and he has just been the best addition to our household. But he did come home with Giardia which has been tough to kick. We could have returned him but i just couldnt since medication resolves this issue and i didnt know what they would have done to him. Ugh this is awful….

  3. We purchased a Boston Terrier back in Feb of 2014 and he was very sick with Giardia and Coccidia. I just called them tonight 11/15 to find that they currently have 3 Boston’s available. I asked if I could buy them for 200.00 each and they said no. I really wish more could be done to stop this kennel from having these animals.

    1. Stop buying them. That simple. When you buy from puppy mills you become part of the problem. Once the supply and demand stop, they will stop. You are not buying better, you are buying so much worst and keeping these sadistic monsters in operation. There are so many wonderful shelter dogs being dropped off because the family just doesn’t want them anymore. A lot of purebreds too. You can save a dog’s life by going to the shelter and rescuing a beautiful life and making a real difference in this obscene trade. [you meaning everyone should]

  4. The animals need to be removed immediately! Anything less is criminal!

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