This property had several groups of outdoor cages arranged in a row on a large concrete slab. The first group contained three cages, each about eight feet long, four feet wide, and five feet high, with a wooden dog house â€“five feet tall and four feet wide and long, accessible by a metal doggie-door â€“ at the rear of each cage. The cage closest to the ownerâ€™s house contained two Akita; the other two cages contained two German Shepherds.
The pens and dog houses were about a foot above the concrete on wooden stilts. The floors were made of treated wire, and the walls and ceilings were made of untreated thin-gauge metal wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures) with wooden beams at their edges. Plastic and metal water dishes were on the floorings. No food dishes were visible in the cages; the inside of the dog houses were not viewed.
Next to this first group of pens was a single cage containing two Akita. The cage was about eight feet long, eight feet wide, and four feet high. It had two wooden dog houses at its rear that were each about four feet long, four feet wide, and five feet high. Both of the Akitas lacked six inches of room from their ears to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).
The cage had a treated-wire flooring and untreated, thin-gauge wire for its walls and ceiling that was covered in rust (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures) (3.1(c)(1)(i) Surfaces). The paint on the wooden beams at the edges of the cage was peeling (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces). Rusty door hinges and a rusting lock held a door in place on one cage wall (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The painted surfaces of the dog houses were peeling, scratched, and torn and had dirty build-up on their surfaces (3.1(c)(2)-(Surfaces) (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning).
Next to the Akita cage were two adjacent, unoccupied cages. They were partially collapsed; one side of a cage touched the ground, and the wire walls were covered in rust (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
Further from the ownerâ€™s house and adjacent to the empty cages were two additional cages, each about eight feet long, four feet wide, and five feet high. One cage housed a German Shepherd, the other an Akita. Both of the dogs lacked six inches of space from their ears to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).
The thin-gauge wire walls of the pens were untreated and rusting (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces), and paint was peeling from the wooden surfaces of the pens and dog houses (3.1(c)(1)-Surfaces). A corner of the Shepherd pen had its wooden frame bowed inward towards it door; wires from the floor were broken off and leaving sharp points protruding into the pen. Wires were pulled away from the bottom wooden beam of the floor on the same side of the cage as the ownerâ€™s house, and about five feet of the wire was broken off and jutting into the pen. Near the door, the wire gapped several inches from the beam, allowing the Shepherd inside to fit its paw through (3.1(a)-Structure, construction) (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Surfaces). The door hinges and locks were rusting (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). A similar cage, unoccupied, was located on the farthest end of the kennel property.
There were about 83 dogs and 60 puppies in the kennel at the time of investigation.
The kennel is a building with two rooms containing cages. One is for whelping and puppies, and the other for breeders.
The whelping room contained a total of 32 cages, with four rows of six whelping cages and two rows of four puppy cages. All of the enclosures were elevated above a concrete floor on painted wooden stilts; the cages were painted wooden frames and treated wire walls, ceilings, and floorings. The whelping cages also had wooden whelping boxes attached to them, accessible via dog doors. Some of the whelping cages contained a pregnant dog, others a whelping mother and puppies, and others simply a litter of puppies. All of the cages had plastic self-feeders attached to their doors and automatic water spigots in them.
Overcrowded puppy cages; Bichon Frise cage
The rows of puppy cages were overcrowded. Each cage was about 2.5 feet tall and wide and 3.5 feet long (providing 8.75 square feet of floor space). Five cages each contained five Poodle, Cock-a-poo, or Shih Tzu puppies, each about 10-12 inches long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails (requiring 8.89 - 11.25 square feet of floor space). Another contained six Cock-a-poos of similar size (requiring about 12 square feet of floor space), two more each contained four Cock-a-poos that were each about 18 inches long (requiring 16 feet of floor space) USDA: 3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space; PA Dog Law: 21.23(b)-Space).
A whelping cage containing a Bichon Frise had over 24 hours of dried feces on top of its cage flooring USDA: 3.11(a)- Cleaning of primary enclosures; PA Dog Law: 21.29(a)-Sanitation).
The breeder cages were elevated enclosures made entirely of treated wire with wooden frames, each about three feet tall and wide and five feet long (providing 15 square feet of floor space). Most of the cages held two dogs each. There were four rows of 14 cages in the room.
One cage contained two Poodles, each about three feet long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails (requiring 24 square feet of floor space). Another contained four Cock-a-poo puppies each about 18 inches long (requiring 16 feet of floor space) (USDA: 3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space; PA Dog Law: 21.23(b)-Space).
The newer barn had a metal door and windows about two feet wide and a foot high, which were spaced about every 20 feet on the walls. There was no artificial lighting or heating in the barn.
In this barn were three rows of 15 cages, one row against each of the longer walls of the barn and a third row of cages in between and parallel to them.
The cages in the middle row were about two feet wide, five feet long, and two feet high. They had painted wooden beams and walls, roof. The flooring was treated, thin-gauge wire. The cages were about three feet above the ground on wooden stilts.
The other cages were constructed in a similar manner but included wooden dog houses about two feet in all dimensions. They were accessible by a doggie-door with plastic frame and a wooden roof that could be flipped open on hinges. The wall of each dog house that faced the cage itself was chewed and scratched.
All of the cages had PVC piping connected to lix-it style water spigots and plastic self-feeders positioned a few inches above the cage floor. Each self-feeder was about four inches wide, three inches deep, and eight inches high and was filled to within one to three inches of the top with food, more than a day’s supply of food for the dogs housed in each cage (3.9(a)-Feeding).
Below each cage was a think layer of wood chips on the concrete flooring. Against the same wall as the door of the barn were dog food bags stacked about eight feet high.
One cage housed a single adult Bichon with shaved fur, sitting in the wooden box at the back of its cage and shaking slightly. It exhibited a cherry eye condition in both eyes and stitches on the left side of its face. Dried blood spotted the fur below its eyes (2.40-Vet Care).
Another cage contained seven adult Yorkshire Terriers and Bichons, each weighing about four to five pounds (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures).
Several cages housed puppies, less than eight-weeks-old, that could crawl out of the whelping boxes onto the wire flooring with open spaces larger than their feet (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures. One of these cages housed several Cocker Spaniels about four-weeks-old and an adult whelping Cocker Spaniel with feces-encrusted mats around her rear end and tail (2.40-Vet care).
The center-row cage closest to the kennel doorway had four plastic bottles on top of it. Two were syrup bottles, a third was a spray bottle with red liquid, and the fourth was a spray bottle with blue liquid (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
The second barn was accessed through a sliding wooden door. There was a strong ammonia odor in this barn and no ventilation system was evident other than windows, which were all closed (3.2(b)-Ventilation).
Inside were three rows of 20 cages arranged in the same manner as cages in the first barn. All were raised about three feet above the ground on wooden stilts, attached to the barn ceiling by metal chains, and framed with painted wooden beams. Some cages were about two feet wide, three feet long, and three feet high. Other cages measured about four feet wide, four feet long, and three feet high. The cages had plastic self-feeders and lix-it water spigots fed by PVC pipe.
One row against the barn wall consisted of only smaller cages. The other two rows consisted of about half small cages and half larger cages. Each cage contained one to four dogs, of various breeds, each weighing between two to eight pounds.
There was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces, mixed with sawdust, below the cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Many of the smaller cages housed one or two dogs each weighing five to six pounds (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). One of these cages, near the corner of the building close to the sliding doorway and housing two Yorkshire Terriers, had a gallon bottle filled with a brown liquid on top of it (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
There were thick cobwebs on the cage roofs and walls and hanging from the wire floorings of the cages, and thick layers of dust had collected on all surfaces inside the kennel (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning). Fur and feces hung in strands and clumps underneath the cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
One of the cages in the center row, housing three adult Cairn Terriers, had flooring that was torn away about a foot from each side of the frame corner. Jagged pieces of wire protruded up to four inches from the frame (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
A larger cage against the barn wall housed a single Yorkshire Terrier weighing about two pounds. There were sharp points of the wire flooring protruding along the entire three-foot length of this cage (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
There were about 100 dogs and 20 puppies at the kennel at the time of investigation.
The kennel building was a metal barn with elevated outdoor cages attached to indoor wooden boxes, some for breeders and the others for whelping. These enclosures were on each of the longer sides of the barn. Additional whelping cages were inside the barn.
Each elevated cage held one to two dogs, with whelping cages also holding litters of puppies. Fecal stains covered the ground below all of the cages. The wall that held the doggie-door of a Shih Tzu pen was rusting and contained several small holes in it near the doorway. The walls separating all of the indoor and outdoor cages had a brown build-up on their surfaces (USDA: 3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning; PA Dog Law: 21.29(b)-Sanitation).
Cairn Terrier puppy
One cage held a whelping Cairn Terrier mother and her puppies of about three weeks of age. One of the puppies was in the outside cage, its legs hanging through the wire and unable to get up on the flooring. The puppy’s mouth was gaping open and panting, so I picked the puppy up and put it back in their whelping box before pointing out the situation to a woman at the residence who was showing me the kennel (Caucasian female, about 60 years old, 5’6”, 180 lbs, long gray hair and glasses). The woman responded that sometimes the puppies find their way outside and can’t get back in (USDA: 3.1(a)- Structure; construction; PA Dog Law: 21.21(a)- Dog quarters).
Another cage held two brown and white Chihuahuas. The brown one was missing all of the toes on its rear left paw, which kept sliding into the gaps of the wire flooring as the dog moved around the outdoor cage. Several times I saw the dog lift its leg up in the air rather than try to walk on it (USDA: 2.40-Vet care; PA Dog Law: 21.30-(Condition of a dog).
Two Pomeranians were in a cage together, and one that was cream-colored had a large bloody scab on the right side of her muzzle that was about an inch long and half an inch wide. The kennel owner said to me, “Watch, she rubs her face on the cage. That’s how she does it.” I watched the dog turn in circles in the cage, rubbing her face up against the wall closest to us. I pulled the dog out of the cage to examine the wound before the owner used her fingers to tear the scab off the dog’s face (USDA: 2.40-Vet care; PA Dog Law: 21.30-Condition of a dog).
Small Yorkshire cage
A room inside the kennel used to store supplies and food was also used to hold additional whelping cages, puppy cages, and a pregnant Yorkie. The pregnant Yorkie’s cage was about two feet wide and tall and three feet long. The dog inside was about two feet long from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail (requiring 6.25 square feet of space, with only six feet of space in her cage), and when she stood in a normal manner her head came within a couple inches of her cage roof (USDA: 3.6(c)(1)(i) and (iii)-Space; PA Dog Law: 21.23(b) and (d)-Space).
A bank of four wire cages across from the pregnant Yorkie held whelping dogs with their litters and a litter of puppies by themselves. Near this bank of cages was a stack of three other wire cages, each about two feet long, wide and tall. The middle cage held a nursing Yorkie mother and two puppies.
The kennel was a series of adjacent pens with indoor/outdoor cages; the investigator was allowed access only to the outdoor cages by a man who identified himself as Edna Martin’s husband. The outdoor cages were connected to a metal barn about 40 feet long and wide, with a peaked metal roof and metal siding. A six-foot-high wooden privacy fence, about eight feet from the cages themselves, fenced the area of the outdoor cages.
There were 10 outdoor cages raised about two feet off the ground on wooden stilts. Each cage was about four feet long, four feet wide, and about three feet high. The cages each housed one to three adult King Charles Cavaliers and English Bulldog puppies, all of which weighed about five to ten pounds. The Cavaliers and Bulldogs were mixed together in cages, and the weights of paired dogs appeared similar.
The cages were made with wooden beams at their corners and treated wire for walls, roofs, and floorings. All of the wood was painted white. Six-inch-wide PVC piping ran along the floorings of the cages next to the walls that faced the privacy fence. The top half of the piping was cut out, revealing running water inside, which Mr. Martin explained was pumped from a local spring. Mr. Martin also said that the water was shut off at night so that it didn’t freeze (3.10-Watering). The cages had doggy doors with metal flaps on them to cages within the barn. There was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces under each cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There were about 20 dogs and 10 puppies in the kennel at the time of investigation.
Two kennels at one property
There were two kennel areas, each being a small building with indoor/outdoor enclosures. Ivan Horning, one of the kennel owners told me that he owned some of the dogs while his son John Mark Horning owned the rest. Ivan and Ana Horning have a kennel at the residence under one USDA and PA license, while John Mark has a kennel at the same address under different USDA and PA licenses. Some of John Mark’s dogs were in Ivan and Ana’s kennel building, including three West Highland Terriers (USDA 2.102(a)(3)-Holding facility).
Ivan showed me one of the kennel buildings, located on the opposite side of the road as the residence. The kennel building had two rows of elevated cages on each of its longer sides. The outdoor cages were constructed of wooden frames and coated wire. Rubber matting was used for floorings. Six cages were on each side of the building, containing either a litter of puppies or one to three dogs.
Several violations were evident at the kennel. One cage held four Weimaraner puppies about six weeks old. The outside rubber flooring had dried feces encrusted on its surfaces, especially inside the holes of the flooring for debris to fall through (PA Dog Law 21.29(b)-Sanitation) (USDA 3.11(a)-Cleaning of Primary Enclosures).
Two different outside cages, each holding a Weimaraner breeder, had large piles of feces on their floorings that appeared to be several days of accumulation (PA Dog Law 21.29(a)-Sanitation) (USDA 3.11(a)-Cleaning of Primary Enclosures). Another cage held three West Highland Terriers with mats in their fur; one dog had a clump of dried feces encrusted to its hindquarters (PA Dog Law 21.30-Condition of dog) (USDA 2.40-Vet care). Feces was smashed into the kennel flooring of the Westie cage in numerous areas, clogging up a lot of the holes in the flooring for debris to fall through (PA Dog Law 21.29(b)-Sanitation) (USDA 3.11(a)-Cleaning of Primary Enclosures).
Ivan told me that his son John Mark owned the Westies.
This kennel consisted of an enclosed housing structure and a separate, fenced-in area with outdoor cages.
The outdoor area measured about 30 feet wide and 50 feet long and was bounded by the enclosed structure on one side and a five-foot-high painted wooden fence. This area included two adjacent cages each about two feet wide, four feet long, and two feet high. They were framed with painted wooden beams and had walls and roofs made of untreated, thin-gauge wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii) Primary enclosures) and floorings made of treated wire. One housed two adult Shih Tzu with severely matted fur (2.40-Vet Care), and the other cage was empty.
A wooden box about two feet in all dimensions was attached at the back of each cage and accessible by a doggie-door with no windbreak on it (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The cages were raised about two feet above the ground on wooden stilts, and there was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces, mixed with sawdust, under one of them (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There were three more outdoor cages within twenty feet of the enclosed kennel. These adjacent cages were about 3.5 feet wide, five feet long, and 3.5 feet high. They were framed with painted wooden beams and had walls and roofs made of untreated thin-gauge wire and flooring made of treated wire. Each included a wooden box 3.5 feet in all dimensions, accessible through doggie-doors with windbreaks. One cage housed four adult Shih Tzu, another housed four adult Standard Poodles, and the third housed four adult Cocker Spaniels. The Shih Tzu and Poodles were all covered with thick, large mats (2.40-Vet Care).
The cages were raised about two feet above the ground on wooden stilts, and there was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces, mixed with saw-dust, under one of them (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Plastic barrels measuring one foot wide and three feet high were inside the cages, positioned against the wall facing the enclosed kennel. They had a section one foot wide and one foot high cut out to provide access inside.
Each cage had a plastic water dish filled with ice (3.10-Watering).
The kennel building was about 30 feet wide and 50 feet long with wooden walls, a peaked metal roof, and several windows on both long sides of the building.
Inside the building were two rows of four adjacent cages each. They were about five feet wide, five feet long, and two feet high and housed three to five dogs. One housed an adult Maltese, a Jack Russell Terrier, and a Shih Tzu. The Maltese, weighing about five pounds, had large, thick mats all over its body. One of these fur mats was about two inches thick and wide and three inches long and completely covered the animal’s right eye (2.40-Vet Care).
Another of these cages housed an adult King Charles Cavalier and three Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu had matted fur (2.40-Vet Care), and one huddled in the corner of its cage, shaking, during the entire observation period.
Another row of five adjacent cages was positioned along the wall with the kennel doorway, each measuring about two feet wide, three feet long, and two feet high. At the backs of these cages were wooden boxes about two feet in all dimensions and accessible through open doggie-doors. Each cage contained two dogs weighing about three to seven pounds.
The cage closest to the kennel doorway housed an adult Miniature Pinscher and a Shih Tzu. The Miniature Pinscher, a female weighing about five pounds, was missing fur from her upper hind legs, left hip, and around her eyes. Where fur was missing, the skin was swollen, grey, scaly, and cracking with pus and blood oozing out. The top of this animal’s eye sockets were swollen about three times their original size (2.40-Vet Care).
These cages had painted wooden-beam frames, walls and roofs made of untreated, thin-gauge wire, and treated wire for floorings. They were raised about 2.5 feet above the concrete flooring on wooden stilts. There were rusting metal beams under the floorings (3.1(c)(1)-Surfaces) and clumps of fur and feces hanging from the floorings (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There were plastic and metal dishes on the cage floorings for food and water, and the food dishes were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding).
An empty dog food bag was in the doorway of the wooden box in the Miniature Pinscher cage. It appeared to have chewed and shredded by the dogs (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
There were six dogs and two puppies in the kennel at the time of investigation.
Stoney Brook Kennel was made up of two parts. One was a puppy pen containing two Boxer puppies, and the other was the primary kennel area holding all of the breeders, including Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Boxers.
The puppy pen was an outdoor enclosure surrounded by chain link walls, with a dog door accessing an area inside a barn I did not observe. The pen itself was about six feet wide and ten feet long, the bare ground acting as a flooring coated what appeared to be weeks of feces (PA Dog Law: 21.29(a) Sanitation). Four Boxer puppies, each about eight weeks old, and an empty plastic barrel were in the pen.
The main kennel area was a series of about six indoor/outdoor pens. I observed only the outdoor pens, being elevated, chain link runs with coated wire flooring. The backs of the pens were metal walls with metal dog doors to allow access to their indoor parts. In several pens there was rust on the dog doors and the walls where the doors and walls were connected. Most pens contained a single dog, while one contained two Golden Retrievers.
Cleaning and health violations
One Boxer pen had several days of feces piled up on its wire flooring (PA Dog Law: 21.29(a) Sanitation). In another pen, a Boxer had a clear discharge from both of its eyes and had swollen eyelids (PA Dog Law: 21.30 Condition of dog).
There were about six dogs and 10 puppies in the kennel at the time of investigation.
The kennel was a small metal barn with several elevated indoor/outdoor enclosures on two sides, containing Labrador, Pugs, and Beagles. The outdoor sections of the enclosures were wire cages, while the indoor parts were wooden boxes with hinged compartments on their roofs to access them.
Pug with overgrown toenails
The owner of the kennel walked me inside and opened up several boxes for me to view a Labrador mother and her puppies, and I saw a Pug breeder stick its head out of its compartment next to me. The front toenails of the Pug were all so long they were curling into the dog’s paw pads (PA Dog Law: 21.30 Condition of dog).
There were 10 dogs and about 16 puppies in the kennel at the time of investigation.
Kennel appeared to be illegally operating
Whispering Oaks Kennel is noted as being voluntarily closed down. I spoke with the kennel owner who said that she used to breed more dogs than she does now. The dogs were kept in a single metal barn near the house. I saw several pieces of chain link fencing piled outside the barn. Inside was a row of dog pens made of chain link doorways and plastic walls.
The kennel owner told me that she “doesn’t have that many litters,” though she had three litters of puppies in the kennel at the time I was there. She said she sells puppies to a man named Dennis from the state of Maryland. Her only description of Dennis was that he is black and pays her in cash, and she claimed she didn’t know his last name.
Dogs in the kennel
Though listed as being closed down, Whispering Oaks Kennel was operating as a breeding facility with over two dozen dogs and puppies in it. One pen contained six to eight Shih Tzu puppies that were not captured on tape. They were located further from the door accessing the barn as the other pens. As I viewed the dogs and puppies in the building, the owner stood closer and closer to my left. Therefore, I stopped pressing towards the other pens to not arouse further suspicion. Each pen held the following dogs: six Shih Tzu puppies; a nursing German Shepherd and three puppies; two Chihuahuas; two Pomeranians; two Jack Russell Terriers; two Shih Tzu; and one Shih Tzu.
Violations noted at the facility included all three of the adult Shih Tzu having thickly matted fur (PA Dog Law: 21.30 Condition of dog), and the Shih Tzu and small dog pens all had several days of feces in them, evident even through the wood chips used to cover their floorings (PA Dog Law: 21.29(a) Sanitation).
I contacted Jesse Smith's office on 11/1/07 to send a report to the proper state dog warden that Whispering Oaks kennel appeared to be operating a kennel without a license while requiring one. I was later informed via e-mail by PA Dog Law that their department was aware of the situation and monitoring it.