Investigating a local puppy mill that had been illegally shipping dogs across the country, WCCO reporter James Schugel made a dramatic discovery: the owner of the puppy mill appeared to be sending dogs to a meat market in New York City’s Chinatown.
So WCCO sent a hidden camera to the Dak Cheong Meat Market, inquiring if the address housed a pet store. When the undercover crew was unable to find any evidence of a pet operation there, Schugel decided to call up the meat market and ask them pointblank if they sold dog meat. And this is where things got interesting.
Schugel asked someone at Dak Cheong if the store sold dog and the person on the other end of the phone matter-of-factly answered “Yeah, we sell dog.”
“Dogs for people to eat?” Schugel asked.
“Um, yeah. We sell many kinds of meat.”
Schugel asked the person to clarify his answer: “He told us that he does not sell dogs for pets,” Schugel told viewers in his “I-Team” report on Monday, “he only sells them for food.”
Well, it turns out that there was a bit of miscommunication over the phone.
Nearly every block of New York City’s Chinatown has a shop with ducks displayed in the window. Duck meat is everywhere. And when Schugel called up the shop, the person on the other end of the line thought he was asking about DUCK meat (how strange it must have been for the person to be asked if the store sold ducks for pets).
The meat market was alerted to the miscommunication after Schugel’s report sparked an investigation into whether the store actually sold dog meat.
“Our inspectors checked the meat store and found no evidence of dog meat,” New York State Agriculture Department spokesman Michael Moran told the New York Post.
A person that works at the meat market was indignant when the Post asked him if they sold dog meat: “How could we sell dog meat?” he said. “This isn’t China. This isn’t Korea.”
Apparently the owner of the puppy mill had mistakenly used the home address of a pet store owner when she shipped a group of dogs, linking the shipment to the building where the meat market is located.
TVSpy reached out to Schugel about the mix-up but he has yet to respond. As far as we can tell, WCCO has not run a retraction and the report appears to have been scrubbed from the station’s website.
>Update: WCCO has issued a “no comment.”