ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — A puppy store accused of mistreating its animals is re-opening at the same location under a different name.
Love 'N' Care Pet Farm in St Peters was shut down in January after health inspectors visited the facility.
A new grooming and boarding business run by one of the original owners recently opened its doors on the property.
Investigative reporter PJ Randhawa was given an exclusive tour of the new business and sought to answer the question: has anything changed?
Dirty syringes, moldy food, expired medication and dangerously inhumane conditions. Those are the conditions that caused St Charles county inspectors to shut down Love N Care pet farm in January.
"It was just stacked. Cages of just dogs upon dogs in that barn. I was like 'Oh my gosh.' I lept out of there and grabbed my daughter," said Diane, a St.Charles woman who visited the pet farm to purchase a dog before it closed.
Former volunteer Marci Richason says she was so disturbed by the condition of the dogs and puppies at Love N Care, she cut ties with them years ago. Richason says she was particularly upset about how the female breeding dogs were treated.
"Some of them didn't have eyes. They were sick. Runny noses, it was horrible, I had to leave. And I tried to get the word out ever since," said Richason.
Richason and Diane are just two of more than a dozen people who've contacted five on your side upset that the business is re-opening under a different name: Fur-Gotten Boarding and Grooming.
"We have plenty of grass and greenery for them to run around and get exercise," said Maddy Colyer, the owner of Fur-Gotten.
Colyer and her family owned Love 'N' Care Pet Farm. But she says this new business is all hers.
She invited us in for a tour the facility but asked us not to show her face.
"I've had harassment on social media and I don't like bullies, I don't want to feed into that," she said.
The kennels were clean, and many featured heated floors and outdoor access. The pricing is reasonable as well. Just $20 a night for boarding, per dog.
"I’m doing this to help families who can't afford to keep their dogs anywhere else, who can’t afford to take them on vacation, so if they want to bring their dog to a place that’s safe, that has someone here 24 hours a day and that’s affordable, then this is the place they need to bring their dogs."
All the electrical, once a cause of concern for inspectors because of exposed wiring and water leakage, has been completely redone. Colyer estimates she spent upwards of $30,000 on electrical alone.
It appeared like every concern had been addressed. But had it?
I-Team: What about the expired medications and moldy food. Do you think the dogs were being treated well here?
Colyer: Absolutely. I love dogs. Everyone I know who's been around the property loves dogs. And they would never do anything to hurt dogs.
I-Team: But you did have a groomer working here that was charged with animal abuse, and she was also suspected of running a dogfighting ring.
That groomer is Michele Hogarth-Dove. She has several pending animal abuse charges in Lincoln County. Last year, more than 30 dogs were seized from her property after being found malnourished and neglected. She was employed by Colyer's family at Love 'N' Care. In January, St. Charles county inspectors even witnessed her abusing a dog at the business during an inspection.
Colyer claims, despite being an owner of Love 'N' Care, she didn't have much contact with Hogarth-Dove.
Colyer: That was a previous business. I don't really have any comments to say on that because I wasn't really in charge of that.
I-Team: You were a registered owner on that business.
Colyer: For the LLC. I convinced them to do an LLC because it's…you get better protection that way. Whereas sole proprietorship you lose a lot.
I-Team: Wasn't she ever background checked? Didn't anyone know what she was accused of doing? Did you guys know about her background?
Colyer: Background checks are not required. If we do have any employees in the future on, they'll be background checked.
Maddy Colyer's father, Robert Colyer, who co-owned Love 'N' Care, might not pass a background check. He's facing twelve animal cruelty charges related to their former business.
I-Team: Is Robert Colyer going to be working here with you?
Colyer: No, if anything he's just going to mow the grass for me. Other than that he'll have no contact with animals.
I-Team: Can you guarantee that?
Colyer: I mean…do you want me to promise you that he's not going to? What would you like me to do?
I-Team: If I was going to leave my dog here, I wouldn't want anyone who had suspicion of abusing animals in their past.
Colyer: I completely understand. Those are things that are ongoing and we'll see what happens.
The Colyer's were forced to remove 180 puppies from Love 'N' Care back in January. The I-Team wanted to know where they ended up. Colyer was reluctant to answer our questions.
I-Team: Do you sell dogs?
I-Team: Are you associated with the business 'Family K9'?
A quick online search by the I-Team shows otherwise. The business is registered to Maddy Colyer. And so is the website. Colyer even references her love for dogs in the businesses 'about me' section.
Colyer: I can neither confirm nor deny because I don't like your questions that you're answering me. I think you're targeting me and that's not why I brought you here.
I-Team: We know your name is associated with Family k9, I don't know why you wouldn't admit that.
Colyer: Because that's not why I'm talking to you. I'm a licensed breeder but I'm not breeding dogs here.
Not true, according to the department of agriculture. The I-Team learned that Maddy Colyer is not licensed to breed dogs. It's something that anyone buying a puppy might want to know.
"Unfortunately there's such a black market and underground market in Missouri for puppy breeding. It's scary how these animals are treated and it's very sad," said Diane.
St Charles County officials tell the I-Team Fur-Gotten Boarding and Grooming meets all their requirements and has been licensed.
Boarding here starts at $20 dollars a night.