Feds investigating potential puppy mill in Selah

Feds investigating potential puppy mill in Selah »Play Video
SELAH, Wash. -- Metal scraps and garbage blanket this property in Selah. Action News first learned about it when neighbors were just tired of looking at the mess off North Wenas Road and asked me to investigate.

That's when KIMA learned it violates Yakima County code. But that's just scratching the surface.

Investigators said the property owners are potentially running a puppy mill. Officials said their kennel doesn't have a license and isn't meeting county requirements.

Federal agents opened an investigation after finding dozens of complaints about dogs received from this Selah home. The complaints are spread across the country and even from Canada.

To get their side of the story, Action News went back to the property.
It didn't go well. When I knocked on the door, an unidentified woman slammed it in my face and told me to get off the property.

On the way out I was met by Tom Beatty, the property owner. He was equally unhappy.

Beatty calmed down after I explained that I only wanted to hear his side of the story. I asked him about all of the complaints the county has received regarding dogs from his kennel.

"I know I've been in court with them. I know all about it," Beatty said.

"Do you think you're operating this kennel illegally," KIMA asked.

"I am. But when I was in court, the county said they'd come, be right out to inspect and they haven't done anything," Beatty said.

Deputy Prosecutor, Paul McIrath, says the Beatty's have been cited for operating without a kennel license before. But Yakima County hasn't been able to get a criminal warrant to get on the Selah site.

They're gathering evidence from afar. Including pictures of the 130 dogs the Beattys gave away to a Seattle-area animal rescue. Many of them were sick. State law only allows 50 animals per kennel.

Beatty tells me he still has 40-50 dogs on his property, but wasn't willing to let me get video.

"If the dogs are in good condition, why won't you let us see them," KIMA asked.

"They've got everything they need. I'm not interrupting my wife. I had a heart attack last year."

The County believes this site is a problem and intends to follow through.

"We will do everything possible to ensure that the state and county laws are upheld and if that means going to court and getting a warrant," McIrath said.