WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) — A Hubertus man has been formally charged after allegedly transporting close to 50 puppies across state lines illegally in the bed of his truck.
Colton Brooder, 34, is charged with three counts of operating as a dog breeder or dealer without a license and three counts of mistreating animals — intentional or negligent violation.
Deputies responded to a home in the Village of Richfield on Sept. 2 after receiving a call from a concerned citizen. A criminal complaint says the caller reported reading several 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 care for them.
A responding deputy arrived at Brooder’s home and discovered numerous small dog kennels stacked in the bed of the truck and strapped 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 be working on behalf of a rescue group, but noted that the animals had not been seen by a veterinarian.
After speaking with an employee at the Washington County Humane Society, authorities learned that a person cannot transport puppies across state lines without first seeing a vet. Officials also learned that Brooder had not been working with the rescue group he claimed to be assisting.
The puppies were then turned over 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 “badly crushed” and none of the crates contained food or water.
In total, 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 made stops 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 the distance between Brooder’s last pickup location and his home in Wisconsin to be over 12 hours, and the distance between stops ranged between two and four hours. The weather during the course of Brooder’s trip ranged between 85-95 degrees at the locations in which 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 certificate of veterinary inspection. Additionally, no one may operate as a dog dealer without an annual license from the department.
Detectives determined Brooder did not hold a breeder license in the state and did not have a valid veterinary certificate for any of the dogs transported into Wisconsin.
An initial court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 7.