sentenced to prison for operating dog ‘factory’
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The Williamsport Sun-Gazette
An Amish man used to spending his days on open land at his Washington
Township farm was sentenced to 30 days in County Prison Monday for operating
what county Judge Nancy L. Butts called a “factory for dogs.”
Bonnets, long beards and solid-colored clothing were common dress in the
courtroom when Aaron Lapp, of 848 Leisure Acres Road, Washington Township,
was accompanied by more than 15 traditionally-dressed members of his
community ready to act as character witnesses. Lapp was before Butts on a
summary appeal of two charges of operating a kennel without a license and
one charge each of possessing dogs without a license and cruelty to animals.
He was appealing the sentence handed down by District Judge C. Roger McRae
in October. McRae sentenced Lapp to 145 days in prison and more than $4,500
in restitution and fines. On June 17, two SPCA humane society officers and a
state dog warden went to Lapp’s farm after receiving numerous reports of
animal cruelty in regards to the approximately 100 dogs he had on the
Nine dogs in need of “immediate care” were taken into SPCA custody as a
result of the search, humane society officer Lawrence Woltz said. Some were
matted with dried feces and urine while others had rashes and skin diseases,
he said. Woltz showed a video recording of the farm taken on the day of the
search. It showed dogs living in cramped wire cages, kennels overflowing
with feces, urine and matted hair and drinking water that was bright green
Most of the cages did not have boards for the dogs to rest their feet from
the wire and some dogs were chained outside with no shade, he said. ‘‘It’s
pretty clear what you’re operating is a factory — for dogs,” Butts told Lapp
as she pronounced sentence. “If you need to grow something to sell it, don’t
grow animals, grow vegetables.
‘‘If this is the way life is over the mountain, it’s going to stop,” the
judge added. “There’s a way you treat animals and this isn’t it.’’
Attorneys for both sides spent two hours Monday morning discussing a plea
agreement. Lapp agreed to plead guilty to two counts of operating a kennel
without a license and one count of owning dogs without a license and to pay
a $200 fine on each count.
As part of the plea agreement, Lapp is to withdraw his current application
to obtain a kennel license and will have 30 days to sell or give away nearly
70 dogs still in his care. Lapp also agreed, though begrudgingly, to plead
guilty to cruelty to animals, with no sentencing recommendation.Mostly stoic
throughout the proceedings, Lapp answered the judge’s questions with brief
two- and three-word statements and had to be asked to speak up on several
occasions. He neither apologized nor tried to excuse his actions, except to
say he had never beaten the animals. Butts explained that the cruelty
to animal charge covered a broad range of abuses, including neglect.
Butts sentenced Lapp to spend 30 days in prison, fined him $750 and ordered
him to pay $2,552 restitution to the SPCA. She allowed him 30 days to report
to the prison so he can file a second appeal, if he chooses, she said.
Lapp’s pleas ended the appeal process, and Butts’ order replaced District
Judge McRae previous sentence.
Public Defender Eric Linhardt, who represented Lapp, said his client’s
actions did not warrant prison time and told the judge that a jail sentence
would ‘‘impose a serious hardship on his family.’’ Lapp said if was to go to
prison he would have to find someone else to milk the cows and take care of
Though many of Lapp’s Amish brethren were in the courtroom to testify as
character witnesses, Linhardt called just one witness, Wendy Thomas, a
non-Amish woman whose children regularly play at Lapp’s farm. Thomas called
herself an ‘‘animal rights activist’’ and said she had worked with the SPCA
to ‘‘put people in jail.’’ She said Lapp cares very deeply for his animals
and was trying to cure some of the sick ones with ‘‘homeopathic’’ remedies.
‘‘I’ve seen the extraordinary measures this man goes to take care of his
animals,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve seen animals mistreated, and I feel this is an
injustice here.’’ Witnesses for the prosecution viewed the situation a
bit differently though. A veterinary technician who groomed one of the dogs
taken from Lapp’s farm said that matting over the eyes had obscured the
dog’s vision and matting of the fur on the dog’s legs and abdomen prohibited
Woltz said that the ‘‘stench was overwhelming’’ and the cages were
‘‘overflowing’’ with feces and urine. The final witness for the
prosecution was Bernadette Miller, a woman who adopted one of the Yorkshire
terriers taken from Lapp’s farm by the SPCA.
‘‘It was traumatized. It was shaking, very scared. It was an empty shell. It
had no personality,’’ she said of the dog’s disposition when she first
brought it home. ‘‘It’s a work in progress.’’ Miller said the dog had
to learn how to run, jump and play because it was never exposed to those
activities before. She said that she had to take the animal to the
veterinarian many times for treatment of its constant vomiting and diarrhea.
In his defense, Lapp said he received a federal license from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to operate the kennel a month before his farm was
searched. But state dog warden Scott Shurer said he had told Lapp several
times that he needed a state license to operate a kennel. The federal
license is needed to sell animals to pet stores or out-of-state dealers, but
the state license is needed for sales to the general public, he said.
Curbing the Puppy
Dec 4, 2005
Dog lovers are
divided over new efforts to ensure that all breeders treat their pooches
With its narrow, winding roads dotted with horse-drawn buggies and
signs for homemade quilts, candles, jams and jellies, Pennsylvania's
Amish country in Lancaster County attracts millions of tourists each
year. But giant billboards along a main highway call attention to a
less appealing local industry. "WELCOME TO LANCASTER ... HOME TO
100'S OF PUPPY MILLS," reads one sign. It was paid for by Last
Chance for Animals, a national animal-advocacy organization that
opposes commercial breeding facilities where hundreds of puppies are
raised in cramped metal cages without proper food, veterinary care and
often even fresh air.
Activists estimate that 200,000 puppies are bred and sold each year in
Lancaster County. The public's fascination with new designer dogs like
the puggle (a cross between a pug and beagle) as well as the ease of
buying a dog on websites like nextdaypets.com
has only increased demand. And with that has come a backlash,
especially in states like Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri,
where there is a high concentration of breeders. There, and even at
the national level, a movement is under way to ensure that the U.S.'s
most popular house pets, many of which are purchased during the
holiday season, are raised in humane conditions. "No pet store
will tell you that its puppies come from a puppy mill," says Ed
Sayres, president of the American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals, "but these animals are commercially exploited
to generate the highest amount of profit at the lowest possible
The exact number of puppy mills is not known, since offenders often
fail to register their operations with the government, as required by
law. But hundreds of violations are reported each year. The horrific
conditions found in some mills can cause health and behavioral defects
ranging from genetic problems caused by overbreeding, such as hip
dysplasia, to overaggressive play. "In order for a dog to be a
normal dog, it needs to stay with its mother and littermates for a
good eight to 10 weeks," says Carol Araneo-Mayer, co-founder of
Adopt-A-Pet, a rescue group in Freehold, N.J. She says many puppies
are separated and even sold long before they learn how to play with
other animals and not to be afraid of people. Also, health problems
can pile up. In May, Lancaster County residents Raymond and Joyce
Stoltzfus agreed to pay some $50,000 to reimburse 171 customers who
claimed the puppies they bought from the couple suffered from
pneumonia, heart defects and kidney failure.
Animal-rights advocates contend that commercially bred dogs can be
spared much of their misery with just the most basic improvements.
"Do they have to be confined to cages 24 hours a day, bred with
no limit on the number of litters and no required socialization with
other dogs or with humans?" asks Josette Aramini, cofounder of
the new United Against Puppy Mills group in Lancaster. The
organization has worked to shutter large-scale breeders by petitioning
local zoning boards to deny them permits.
But breeders say such efforts unfairly tarnish those who do treat
their dogs well. Ken Brandt, a lobbyist for the Pennsylvania
Professional Pet Breeders Association, complains that the activists
won't be satisfied until all large breeders are shut down. "If we
built the biggest kennel in the world, with carpet on the floor and a
fireplace for the dogs, animal-rights people would say, 'Can't you
make it bigger?'"
Such arguments don't persuade U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of
Pennsylvania. Santorum, who has a German shepherd named Schatzie, has
long advocated stricter animal-care laws, which regulate the basic
food, shelter and air quality that wholesalers must provide for
animals. He says his state's dubious distinction as the
"Puppy-Mill Capital of the East" is part of what motivates
him to press for change. In May, he introduced the federal Pet Animal
Welfare Statute (PAWS), which would require anyone who sells more than
25 dogs a year to comply with the same inspections as large-scale
wholesalers, who are regulated by the Animal Welfare Act. Inspectors
measure the size of kennels or cages and make sure the living
conditions are safe, clean and climate-controlled. Under PAWS,
violators could face suspensions for as much as 60 days instead of the
current 21-day maximum.
Even though Santorum has widespread support for PAWS among groups like
the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society,
there is a rift in the vast community of dog fanciers. Some believe
that even midsize dog-breeding operations need regulation, and others
are worried that those breeders, who pride themselves on the quality
of the dogs they raise, often in their homes, would be put out of
That division over PAWS is especially obvious inside the American
Kennel Club (A.K.C.), which registers nearly a million purebred dogs
each year. The organization officially supports the bill, but many of
its member clubs do not. Sam McDonald, an A.K.C. member in Chester
Springs, Pa., says he thinks the legislation is fair because "if
someone has more than 25 dogs, then there needs to be someone checking
out what is going on."
But Margaret Crothers, an A.K.C. member in neighboring Lancaster, who
raises Labrador retrievers, says the extra paperwork and inspections
would be a nuisance for the "good breeders who are very
conscientious." She argues that existing puppy lemon laws in 17
states, which require sellers to refund buyers of diseased dogs, along
with local anticruelty statutes, provide enough protection.
Of course, there is another way to scale down puppy mills: cut back on
the demand for the dogs grown in them. Adopting dogs from local
shelters--a quarter of which are purebreds--would save some of the
estimated 3 million dogs that are euthanized each year, and could
result in a happy outcome for all involved.
BUYER BEWARE Here's how to make sure that your new puppy is happy and
SHOP AT A SHELTER Local shelters frequently have purebred dogs, like
this rescued miniature pinscher, left, and ensure that all animals
have had their shots and were checked by a veterinarian.
DON'T BUY ONLINE It's smart to research the type of dog you want on
the Web (at a site like akc.org)
But to guarantee that you're getting the pet you expect, always visit
the seller directly.
CHECK THE PEDIGREE Since temperament can be inherited, ask to meet
your puppy's mother and father to see what they are like. A good
breeder will guarantee your purchase for life.
Puppy farms under fire
LANCASTER, Pa. — A few scattered pumpkins dot the muddy fields
where bearded men in wide-brimmed hats lead teams of shaggy plow
horses tilling the soil. It is autumn in the rolling hills
of Pennsylvania's Amish country, and the fields that sustain the
simple lifestyle are mostly bare. But one crop — the
most important crop to some — remains: Puppies.
"They're more expensive now because of Christmas coming
up," said a bonneted young girl, who cheerfully greeted
visitors to her picturesque dairy farm in Ronks last
week. She disappeared into a large red barn and emerged
with three squirming puppies, each a different breed.
"That's a Boston terrier. This one is a bichon,"
she said, motioning to the pups still in her arms, "and
this is a Yorkie. ... He's going to cost the most. You can
probably have him for $1,300." Bred for bulk and
retail sale, puppies are a growing cash crop for hundreds of
farmers in and around Lancaster County, where Amish and
Mennonite settlers from Switzerland and Germany arrived in the
early 1700s in search of religious freedom.
For farmers, a big crop of dogs can gross up to $500,000
annually, with successful operations netting six figures.
For critics, the men in the suspenders and bushy beards are
masking a cruel form of factory farming behind the quaint and
pure image of the Amish culture. They so badly want the kennels
shut down, they have taken their fight to Congress.
"Amish country is synonymous with puppy mills,
and Lancaster County is the capital of Pennsylvania puppy
mills, with more than 200 kennels," said Libby Williams,
founder of New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse.
"Dogs ... should not be treated like chickens, penned up in
coops for their entire lives just to breed."
Activists contend more than 200,000 puppies are churned out
annually in and around Lancaster County. The farm where
the little girl greets visitors had hundreds of older dogs
secluded behind the main barn last week. Perhaps 60 fluffy
white dogs were tucked in rabbit hutches stacked a story high
and several dozen feet across.
Scores of others filled dozens of pens stacked two-high on
both sides of an alleyway. Some were bichons, others Malteses.
All were the small, playful and popular breeds that bring the farm
— known as Clearview Kennel — a steady income.
The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement lists 243
kennels in Lancaster County, and about 50 hold federal licenses
to sell litters to brokers. Hundreds more are scattered in
surrounding counties. "The vast majority of kennels,
and we have about 2,500 in Pennsylvania ... go through a year
without receiving citations, but there are those where we do
find violations," said Mary Bender, director of the dog
Puppy Love, a kennel at the southern end of Lancaster
County that sells more than 1,000 puppies a year, was labeled
one of the most notorious by the state Attorney General's Office
earlier this year. In a lawsuit, the state charged customers
bought dogs that died within 48 hours of purchase.
The worst puppy mills, according to Williams and
Humane Society investigators, pen up young females and force
them to mate from their first day in heat. That means
churning out litters twice a year, maybe for up to seven years,
and often with some unhealthy results, said Bob Reder, who
conducted undercover puppy mill probes for the Humane
Society throughout the 1990s.
"To breed a dog properly requires a medical checkup to
see if the animal is healthy enough to give birth to healthy
litters. That is never done by these breeders. They breed every
dog, so you get sick offspring," said Pamela Shot, a Morris
County, N.J., veterinarian and activist.
She cited congenital defects, such as bad hips and poor
eyesight, and allergies that develop years later. Temperament
problems also occur. Two weeks ago, during the U.S. Senate
subcommittee hearing on a bill introduced by two Pennsylvania
senators, animal-rights advocates told horror stories about
breeding operations across the county.
The legislation would add retail dog operations to the
licensing and inspection authority of the federal Department of
Agriculture, which already regulates wholesale dog sales.
Nancy Perry, vice president of government affairs for the Humane
Society in Washington, D.C., said the "legislation has
tremendous support on both sides of the aisle."
Puppies for sale: Pet shop brokers
head to Holmes
T-R photos/Jim Cummings
Puppy 151 waits to go to auction at Buckeye
Dog Auction as the auction is under way outside
By ZACH LINT,T-R Staff Writer
November 13, 2005
BERLIN – If it weren’t for the incessant yelping of
313 dogs who were confined in stacked cages in a room
closed off to the auction block, it may have appeared to
an outsider as just another run-of-the-mill day at the
Amish Flea Market.
In the last year-and-a-half, the Buckeye Dog Auction
has grown into anything but run-of-the-mill. Some
breeds are able to fetch more than a few thousand dollars,
while others can net hundreds of dollars for the seller.
The auction and the subsequent success of local
breeders has convinced others to forsake Bessie for Fido.
Apparently, there’s more money in dogs than cattle.
Meanwhile, Pam Maurer of New Philadelphia is outraged
about the proliferation of what she calls “puppy
mills” in Holmes County. “I
have sleepless nights because of it,” Maurer said last
week. “I can’t stand
what’s going on, and so little can be done.
“There are legitimate breeders out there and there
are others who treat them like livestock or something
other than the pet or companion animal that they are meant
In a Reader’s Viewpoint published in September,
Maurer pointed to the more than 400 licensed kennels in
Holmes County and criticized the breeders for raising
large numbers of puppies for profit in cramped, unsanitary
quarters hidden from the public’s view. But
Ervin Raber of Millersburg doesn’t see it quite like
that. Raber is the co-founder
of the Buckeye Dog Auction. He also runs a large kennel
with about 50 breeding females and 12 male studs.
His operation has been inspected and even the president
of the Holmes County Humane Society, Karole Butler, gave
it high marks. “Puppy
millers – that’s a big controversy going on right
now,” Raber said. “I am currently the president of the
Ohio Pro Dog Breeders Assn. and in our opinion there is no
such thing as a puppy mill.”
Raber said some of the opposition facing the dog
breeding business comes from people who believe that every
dog should be born in somebody’s kitchen and raised in
their backyard. “The thing
that they understand the least is that these kennel dogs
were born and raised in a kennel environment,” he said.
“They have never been a house pet, so it’s not
stressful for them to be confined among 20 others and be
used as breeding stock.” Many
local breeders look to the Buckeye Dog Auction as an
opportunity to improve their stock and turn a quick
The auction house takes in a $10 registration fee for
every dog to go on the block and a 10 percent commission
on the sale. Raber said mixed breeds will sell for as
little as $25 while a purebred female Cavalier King
Charles Spaniel might sell for more than $5,000.
“It takes a special license from the state of Ohio
and we go through an auction firm for our auction
license,” Raber said. “I have nothing to hide.”
Buyers can look over the dogs prior to the
start of the auction and can compare registered tag
numbers to the ones listed in the auction’s catalogue.
“Every animal is vet-inspected on premises and
anything AKC (American Kennel Club) -registered also is
inspected at the time,” Raber said. “We have four
eyeballs watching us from every direction to make sure we
do things right.”
The auction at Berlin came about after Raber and his
son made several trips to a similar one in Missouri when
they began their breeding business. Breeders from New
York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Indiana frequent the
auction since Raber started it at Berlin nearly two years
The upcoming two-day auction starting Nov. 25 promises
to be one of Raber’s largest of the year. “We
usually sell 150 top dogs on Friday and another 250 on
Saturday,” Raber said. “The top dogs have to have all
their shots and meet some stricter requirements.”
Raber said he tries to hold about 10 auctions per year.
The auction group and OPDBA sponsor
seminars for area breeders to learn how to improve kennel
conditions and breed quality. One lecture featured a
friend of Raber’s who houses more than 2,000 dogs in his
Missouri kennel. “We have a
representative from the Hunt Corp., biggest broker in the
states, coming to be introduced to breeders,” Raber said
of an upcoming seminar on Nov. 17.
“We need to keep new blood pumped in as it grows and
we need new avenues for it.” Raber
said the meeting should expose bigger and better business
opportunities for area breeders. “That’s
the hub of the business – to produce puppies and sell
them at 8 weeks old to brokers or pet shops,” he said.
Raber said he likes dealing with pet shop
“It’s a cut and dry thing,” he said. “They give
you a check and you never hear back from them.
“It’s not a thing where Tammy
Johnson’s dog in Cleveland got a heart murmur and wants
you to pay for it. If there is a problem with a pup we do
have to replace it.”
Raber and his colleagues do fear backlash from animal
rights groups. “There were
situations that needed help and we’ve cleared a lot of
that up already in the last two years,” Raber said.
“The days of stacking cages on top of one another and
having feces fall to the lower dogs are gone.”
Other breeders who attended Raber’s auction in
mid-October said they feared fanatical “rescue groups”
and didn’t want to go on the record. “In
the past, not so much here, but in Pennsylvania and
Missouri and some areas, (rescue groups) have taken dogs
and been real nasty,” Raber said.
“That’s the reason I run the auction through a post
office box in Walnut Creek.” Holmes
County Dog Warden Joe Patterson said complaints about
puppy breeders are down this year and credited an agent
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for helping to
inspect kennels over the last two years.
“I don’t care much about what people think in our
county, but if it wasn’t for this agent we’d be in
worse shape than we are now,” he said, adding that he
used to get frequent complaint calls from tourists who saw
what they thought was mistreatment of an animal when they
went on a tour of an Amish farm.
But over the last year, Patterson said the number of
complaint calls has dropped off despite the spike in the
number of kennel licenses. “These
kennel operators are getting to the point where they know
how to go out around the public eye,” he said. “They
have the pet store people come directly to them to buy
whatever dogs they need at their pet stores.”
Patterson said he’s even heard of cases where the
Internet is starting to be used by local breeders.
Holmes County Humane Society President
Karole Butler said she’s seen enough to be concerned.
“The community knows little of the
problem in this county,” Butler said. “We actually get
more e-mails from tourists who come and see signs and pet
shops with the ‘Amish puppies for sale.’”
She said Ohio only has two USDA kennel inspectors.
Butler said when she tells local residents
that there are more than 400 kennels scattered throughout
Holmes County, they are astonished. “It
is a well hidden practice and you only see the cute little
puppy side of it,” she said. Tuscarawas
County Dog Warden Karen Slough can relate. “If
they’re just cranking out the puppies and that’s how
they’re mistreating them, there’s not much we can
do,” Slough said. “Sometimes what’s legal and
what’s ethical is not always the same thing.”
There is no limit on the number of dogs a kennel can
have and there are loose requirements on how cages must be
maintained. “The law
addresses food, water and shelter, but there are degrees
of abuse and neglect,” she said.
Pet Store Problem: A Carl Monday
CLEVELAND -- They’re beloved
household pets that become part of the
fabric of daily family life, but why are
many dogs getting sick, even dying just days
after their purchase from local pet shops?
Puppy mills in Amish country supply
Mika Williams’ new puppy is being treated
for kennel cough at a private vet just days
after buying the dog for her daughter at the
Adriatic Pet Store in Collinwood.
This comes after the store’s owner says
their vet gave the puppy a clean bill of
health. “He performed an X-ray
and [its lungs were] completely clear,” said
owner Linda Beltowski.
“We were expecting a healthy dog that was
going to be chasing my daughter around …
who’s going to be able to feel lots of love,
but we’re catering to a very sick puppy,”
Williams said. Adriatic’s own
papers show the store bought the dog from a
licensed breeder in Amish country - in
The picturesque, rolling countryside
belies what our undercover cameras found
there … puppy mills, housing stacks of tiny,
cramped cages and unsanitary conditions.
Deborah Howard, the director of the
Denver-based Companion Animal Protection
Society, explained, “more than 90 per cent
of the puppies in pet stores come from what
we call puppy mills.” Adriatic claims its
part of the ten percent that doesn’t
patronize puppy mills.
“We go to our private breeders,” said
Beltowski. “We don’t do puppy mills or
anything like that.” But, the
Animal Protective League says many breeders
are puppy mills in sheep’s’ clothing.
“I think anybody who is breeding a dog and
selling puppies to a pet shop is a puppy
mill,” said APL Director Dori Villalon.
Curtis Beachy is a private breeder in the
heart of Amish country.
“Do you sell at all to pet shops?” he was
asked. “Some of the males,” he replied.
“Females I don’t.” Beachy sold a
puppy to Adriatic - who in turn, sold it to
Jennifer Kabat for $1,200. “He was
infested with fleas and parasites and I just
felt that’s completely unacceptable,” Kabat
said. Beachy’s kennels are
unlicensed and not subjected to USDA
inspections. On the day we pulled a surprise
visit, we found what appeared to be clean
and sanitary conditions.
That can’t be said for other puppy mills
in Ohio’s Amish country. “This
is the first time that we have investigated
in Ohio and we found unbelievable squalor,”
Howard said. Recently, the
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
sent an undercover investigator into Ohio’s
Amish puppy mills. “They were
pretty appalling,” Howard said. “We saw some
very sick animals … a lot of fecal
accumulation, rusty cages, insufficient food
and water.” CAPS also paid a
visit to Adriatic Pets in Cleveland.
It didn’t take long for the puppy cop
from CAPS to spot a problem. They asked to
see a pug. “[There’s lot of puppy
mills in Amish country … Do you buy any down
there?” Beltowski was asked. “No, I usually
don’t,” she replied. “I go there. I see the
But, here’s where the pug in question
came from. CAPS says in their opinion,
there’s no doubt: the Millersburg kennel,
USDA licensed, is a puppy mill.
“He had cleaning violations,” one person
said. “I know there were some food
violations.” CAPS also sent a board
member and licensed vet Dr. Don Allen into
“There are two puppies in there that had
spots on their head,” Dr. Allen said. “The
girl said that was ring worm and she also
said it’s not contagious. Well I beg to
differ. Ring worm is highly contagious.”
Allen says Adriatic was generally clean, but
says as long as you buy a dog from any pet
store, you’re taking a chance.
“There’s no other source for pet stores
to get their puppies from other than from
puppy mills,” Dr. Allen said. “It’s plain
and simple.” Emilee Mullary bought her
son a dog at Adriatic. “It was
like a child we had for a short amount of
time,’ she said. “I was the one who was
picking him up from the hospital.”
The dog died within days. “We
talked to some customers - they say, ‘yea,
we bought a pet, looked fine in the cage,
took it home -it died,’” Beltowski said.
“What happened,” she was asked. “That’s
highly unusual and must be some underlying
reason for that,” she replied.
But Leslie Sinclair says it happened to her.
“They did not care that my daughter was
hurt,” Sinclair said. “They didn’t care that
my daughter was upset. They didn’t care that
the dog was lying there dying.”
Attorney Patricia Kidd, who represents
several Adriatic customers, wants to know. -
and so does the APL.
“For those folks who do go to the pet
store and feel sorry for the dog and buy it
… you’re perpetuating this problem,” Dori of
the APL said. “You have to walk away.”
The owner of Adriatic Pets says they sell
about 125 dogs a month. She says
they’re bound to get a few complaints of
sick dogs and will exchange any sick dog for
a new one. The store says it has
many repeat customers.
So what can be done to better police pet
stores that do buy their dogs from puppy
mills? Frankly, not much - the APL, for all
the good it does, has no real enforcement
And the health dept. can inspect a store,
but they’re looking more for human health
concerns, not animal. USDA inspectors have
what’s called the "Animal Rights Act" at
their disposal, but we’re told it’s seldom
enforced.Others say many puppy mills have
cleaned up their act and our better than
they were, even just a few years ago.