The A maze’n Farmyard: A Hidden Truth

The slideshow above has images from the A maze’n Farmyard website.  On the top are the dogs available for purchase there, on the bottom of each image is a picture of what that breed of dog should look like.  You can see for yourself the differences.  



The A maze’n Farmyard is a small amusement park located on a farm in Eden Valley, Minnesota. They offer many activities for kids and families to enjoy. They have giant slides, a mini-golf course, a large maze, and a gift shop. The A maze’n Farmyard is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day. Another attraction that brings people from all over to the farm is their puppies for sale.

There are currently fifty-one puppies of all different and mixed breeds on the A maze’n Farmyard website.  Unfortunately, this organization has been in the news the last few years because of it.  The A maze’n Farmyard has been accused of being a puppy mill in the past. There have been protests there regarding the conditions of their kennels and the way they treat and breed the dogs.  The St. Cloud Times ran this article in August 2015. According to an article written by City Pages, in this article, a federal inspection reported that more than eight hundred dogs were bred and sold to pet stores. In 2004, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), busted The A maze’n Farmyard for unsanitary living conditions and three dogs were found with eye problems. They were also caught for selling puppies too young, at eight weeks old. According to Go MN news, in 2012, a report on February 14th and a report on July 24th had an outcome of eight violations. The USDA’s recent inspection, reported in this article, found that improvements have been made, they didn’t have a single violation.

Although the outdoor activities close for the winter after Labor Day, puppies are still available to be purchased.  On Monday-Friday you must make an appointment in order to adopt a puppy or visit but on Saturdays and Sundays they are open to the public for any visitors.

On a Saturday in November, I decided to drive to The A maze’n Farmyard to take a look at the puppies I saw on the website and see what conditions they might be in. When I arrived I went into a showroom to see the puppies. There was a large black crate in the middle of the room with 7-8 puppies. There were a few puppies running around the room for people to play with. Along the walls there were the types of cages you’d see in a pet store. There were 2-4 puppies per glass cage. There were a few chairs along another wall for people to sit in, and in one corner of the room, there was a desk where people would pay for their puppy and fill out the paperwork.

There was a man in charge of the puppy room, but when I first walked in, he wasn’t in the room and didn’t come back for several minutes. He came through a door that led to a back room where you would get the puppies out of the glass cages. At first I was almost convinced that it wasn’t really that bad of a place, but then I noticed that there was a black curtain that covered the back of the glass cages and hid what was in the back room. To me, that seemed suspicious.

While I was visiting, I saw two puppies get adopted and when someone picked out their puppy and told the man, he would take the puppy into the back room for a bath. When the man came back the puppy would be shaking violently. The puppies running around the room and in the black crate were very skittish around people. They were afraid to be picked up and would run away in order to avoid it. I tried to pick up a puppy that looked terrified, and it took me awhile to finally be able to do so. Once I was holding the mini-schnauzer, and he realized he was safe, he ate up all the attention and love I was giving him.

While I was there I also pulled up the A maze’n Farmyard website to see what dogs weren’t in the puppy room. I saw that a marble colored mini-Australian Shepherd puppy was not on display, so I asked the man if I would be able to see her. When I asked, he told me that he would have to call his dad, so he could bring her to the room. His dad pulled up in a truck with the puppy and brought her into the room. When I was given the puppy, I noticed many things that seemed very odd to me.

It was shaking like crazy and drooling everywhere because she was so nervous. She smelled awful and unlike any of the other puppies in the room. When I left the farm, my coat smelled so bad that I had to put it in the trunk. There was also an actual tear running down her face. I held her for 15-20 minutes, and it took her almost that full time to calm down and realize that she is safe and okay.

It took me a few days to process what I had seen and experienced that day at the A maze’n Farmyard. One thing that I had a very hard time with was the difference in how the puppies looked in the photos on their website versus what I found when I would Google the breeds. The differences were heartbreaking and only gave more proof that The A maze’n Farmyard is not a healthy place for puppies to be.