According to sources inside the WCCO newsroom, station management is well aware of the gloriously awful fail, but still hasn't taken responsibility for the mistake. However, it has issued an internal memo that, at the very least, acknowledges that the poor man said, "duck": WCCO finally breaks silence on 'duck/dog story' controversy.
There seem to be some inaccurate rumors on the subject of our dog breeder investigation. I wanted to take a moment to set the record straight.Again, absolutely no indication of any kind of apology or correction. Hell, there's barely an acknowledgement that they even made a mistake. The article suggests that WCCO might actually be operating under threat of a lawsuit. But neither the dog seller or the meat market have taken any kind of legal action.
First, no one should let unfounded rumors, anonymous sources or social media comments guide his or her actions or beliefs about WCCO-TV or any of its employees.
Much of what is being said by people that are supposedly inside are absolutely false. For instance, no one is being terminated.
So that none of you are guided by misinformation, here is what we know:
- As we reported, Minnesota Certificate of Veternary Inspection reports show the breeder, Kathy Bauck, sold nearly 1400 dogs after her USDA license to sell was terminated in August 2010.
- Of those nearly 1400 dogs, on 12 separate occasions, over period of approximately a year, a total of 158 dogs was shipped to the address in New York, where there are two business establishments, including a market, as we reported.
- Bauck said she put the wrong address for this location. According to her, she listed the wrong address all 12 times she sent dogs to that location. As we reported, we contacted the owner of the pet shop that Bauck said the dogs were supposed to go to, and that owner told us he hadn’t done any business with Bauck for over a year.
- We sent a news camera to both establishments in New York and found no evidence of dogs at either and reported that in our story.
- When we called the market, the person we spoke to said he didn’t speak English, but then gave an interview in English. We asked him if the market sold dogs, and we believed he answered in the affirmative. We now believe that he said, "Duck."
- Since our report and a full two months after the last shipment of dogs, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets searched the markets for dogs and found no evidence to sustain the claim that they were being sold at that location. It is interesting to note that this same establishment was searched by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets last December, based on a similar complaint, and there was no evidence to sustain that claim.
- Upon learning of the actions of Kathy Bauck, the USDA has permanently revoked her license to sell dogs.
In the end, we don’t yet know what truly happened to the dogs except that they were shipped to the location we reported on. These are all facts that warranted a compelling and important news story. In view of this, I suggest we ignore the rumors and innuendo and keep doing the outstanding work we are known for here at WCCO-TV.
At the very least, shouldn't someone take responsibility (ahem, James Schugel) for jumping the gun with this irresponsible, undercooked story? Here are two online petition calling for the station to fess up and publicly apologize:
WCCO: Admit their errors and stop irresponsible journalism.
WCCO to Publicly Apologize, Acknowledge Mistake and Offer Assurances to Prevent Inaccuracy.
UPDATE: For your reference, here's a handy YouTube video of WCCO's investigative report, which originally aired on October 31 but has since been removed from the station's website without a trace: