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Sunday, 30 December 2001 19:00

Zeus’ Story

Zeus' Story

December 31, 2001
Luise & Ken Fortney

Joyce Stoltzfus
Puppy Love Kennel
267 Riverview Road
Peach Bottom PA 17563

Joyce Stoltzfus,



We purchased a Rottweiler/ mix Puppy from you on December 20th, 2001. The puppy was purchased as a surprise Christmas gift for my son who is five years old. He has wanted a puppy for Christmas for a while and has talked about it since this past summer. My sister cared for the puppy from the time of purchase until Christmas morning. On Christmas morning my mother brought the puppy to us and my son showed so much excitement it was incredible, for that we thank you. We also named him Zeus.

The events following our initial purchase were incredible as well. Unfortunately, incredibly disastrous. A summary of the events that bring us to today are summarized below:

December 21, 2001 - In the evening (~8:30 p.m.) my sister called to say Zeus had become very lethargic, was coughing and had green mucus expelling from his nose. We called you immediately to let you know and get your advice. We had an appointment scheduled with our vet the next morning. You advised us to keep the appointment and keep an eye on him. At that time we were concerned the symptoms were of canine distemper. You assured us it was probably just a cold, and suggested giving him Robitussin DM to relieve his congestion.

December 22, 2001 - Our appointment with the DVM (10:30 a.m.) at Fullerton Animal Hospital did not provide any specific conclusion as to what was wrong with the puppy since it was an initial visit. The following tests and recommended remedies were suggested:

 

  • Prescribed an antibiotic called Clavamox (62.5 mg) 1 1/5 tablets 2x daily for the nasal discharge;
  • Prescribed cough tablets ½ tablet every 8 hours as needed for dry cough;
  • Performed two types of tests for mange from scrapings on tail both of which were negative and prescribed Conofite Cream (2%) applied 2x daily for bare spots on his tail and back right foot;
  • Performed a test on stool sample that provided negative results.
Local DVM recommended contact the day after Christmas for status.

He reacted well, initially and was brought home to us. He seemed to be recovering, at least not as bad as he was on the 21st, but still had a dry cough (occurring less frequently) and a cloudy nasal discharge instead of green with no sneezing.

December 26, 2001 - Contacted local DVM for fleas found, what could we do to treat fleas, and general status of puppy. Could not get in contact with DVM. Left a message for return phone call the next day. No return phone call.

December 28, 2001 - On the 28th he started to become "finicky" with his food regular diet (Iams puppy chow for large dogs) and somewhat lethargic. With help we were able to get the puppy to eat two meals and at this point there was not trouble with water intake. Regular bowel movement was noted along with regular fluid elimination. Stools started somewhat firm but were ending soft with some mucus.

December 29, 2001 - Couldn't get the puppy to eat and drinking was becoming a problem. Contacted the local DVM at 1:00 p.m. DVM suggested chicken broth or ground beef with rice for his diet, which we tried immediately and he ate one meal with some coaxing. This was recommended because the DVM was concerned that the antibiotic may have irritated the digestive tract. Meds were to be discontinued for a twenty-four hour period. Also, to get the puppy hydrated the DVM suggested Gatorade or ice cubes to get the puppy re-interested in fluid intake. We were able to get the puppy to drink his regular water with the hamburger and rice mixture. The last stool elimination was noted to be around 4:00p.m.

December 30, 2001 - The next morning he ate quarter to half of the rice/hamburger mixture but would not drink. We immediately tried ice cubes and later Gatorade and we were initially successful. Zeus was becoming more lethargic and would not eat after the initial try in the morning. We tried to keep fluids in him to keep him hydrated but close to evening he started vomiting initially hamburger and rice (very little) and some fluid. He also developed a "twitch" which worsened as the evening went on. We again called you, around the 9:00pm hour, explained the problems, which you insisted were an upper respiratory infection and the twitching could be from a number of different things. You claimed you could heal him of this illness and we agreed to bring him back as soon as possible. The earliest you wanted us to bring him was 10:am December 31, 2001. As the evening progress his symptoms worsened. He was twitching severely and the vomiting was getting worse at 10:00 - 10:30pm with repeated attempts (forcefully) at hydration. At this point we knew we could not wait until the next morning. We called you back and reached your answering machine. With a message left we anticipated a return call, but never received one. My mother-in-law also tried to contact you and left a detailed message stating that we wanted to bring the dog immediately. The twitching became constant between 11:00 - 11:30 p.m. and Zeus was near the point of physically injuring himself. With no further communication from you, we contacted an emergency animal facility, Falls Road Animal Hospital, 6314 Falls Rd, Baltimore MD 21209, 410-825-9100. Under their advice we took Zeus to them due to his behavior. The DVM recommended that we leave the puppy so that he could perform some testing but indicated that it didn't look good since the initial injection of relaxant had little affect. We were to call at 7:00 a.m. the next morning to decide what to do.

December 31, 2001 - At 4:00 a.m. the on staff DVM indicated that he could not stop Zeus from seizing and the metabolic testing indicated no abnormalities. In his opinion, based on the dog's actions and reaction to medication we were dealing with canine distemper and the puppy should be put down. We insisted that we should contact you first. We tried to contact you again at 6:30 a.m. to let you know that the veterinarian recommended euthanization soon and to find out what we needed to do with the body. We again received your voice mail upon which we left a detailed message and asked you to return our call or we would have the puppy put down by 7:00 a.m. At 7:00 we called the DVM to let him know we would follow his advice and asked if he could put his opinion in writing. By 9:30 a.m. we had not received a return call and had to call you again to let you know what was happening, what should be done with the body, and what kind of refund we were entitled to. You stated that you did not require the body but would require a copy of the DVM statement of death to obtain a refund of the initial cost of the puppy. We then inquired as to the balance of our bills for the extensive care provided in trying to help the puppy recover. You stated that you would consider these costs as part of the refund if we sent the documents to you.

My family has experienced great pain and suffering due to the actions leading to the demise of Zeus. We tried to improve his quality of life and promote healing. Unfortunately, it seems this puppy was too sick to be healed.

We would prefer to have back the puppy that we have become so attached to. Regretfully, since that is not possible, we are requesting full reimbursement of the purchase price as well as partial reimbursement for the veterinarian bills. We do not expect reimbursement for the first examination. However, we do request full reimbursement otherwise. If our request is not honored within 10 days of receipt we will pursue further legal action. A breakdown of the expenses that should be reimbursed by you is as follows:

 

Description Date Cost Refund Due Method of Payment Reference
>Initial Cost 12/20/2001 $291.50 $291.50 Visa Contract Seller has copy.
Initial DVM Visit 12/22/01 71.05 Discover Attachment A Buyer provided copy.
Initial Deposit Emergency Care 12/31/2001 250.00 250.00 Discover Attachment B Buyer provided copy.
Subsequent Payment for Emergency Care 12/31/2001 220.95 220.95 Discover Attachment C Buyer provided copy.
Mass Cremation 12/31/2001 65.00 65.00 Discover Attachment D Buyer provided copy.
DVM Opinion 12/31/2001 Attachment E Buyer provided copy.
TOTAL $827.45
We believe these moneys are due us because we should have never experienced this type of problem with the puppy (this is not normal care) over such a short time span. We hope that you will stand behind your product.

Luise M. Fortney
Monday, 30 June 2003 20:00

Puppy Love Kennels

CAPS played a key role in assisting The Philadelphia Inquirer in an article on Pennsylvania puppy mills (12/10/95). This article featured Puppy Love Kennels, a large facility in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania (Lancaster County). The Philadelphia Inquirer and "20/20" stories on the AKC also featured this kennel. The owner of Puppy Love, Joyce Stoltzfus, obtains the majority of her business through newspaper advertisements. Some of the puppies she sells are from her breeding stock, but most of the puppies are from other breeders in Lancaster County and Ohio.



The AKC suspended Ms. Stoltzfus' privileges in 1990. Yet, with full knowledge of the AKC, she continued to sell AKC registered dogs. She merely omitted her name from the supplemental AKC registrations so that it appeared the dogs came directly from the breeders. In 1991, the USDA fined Ms. Stoltzfus and her husband, Raymond, $10,000 in 1991 for re-selling dogs to pet shops without a Class B license and for having unsanitary conditions and inadequate disease control.

A customer who purchased a Puppy Love Golden Retriever with hip dysplasia, contacted us after the "20/20" piece on the AKC. She assisted us in obtaining complaints from more than 100 customers who purchased sick or dying puppies from Puppy Love. Because of the publicity and the complaints, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office began investigating Puppy Love and was going to take the case to trial in the April 1998. The date of the hearing was postponed until October 1998. The case was settled, and the Stoltzfus' agreed to pay $30,600 in restitution while not admitting wrongdoing. The Attorney General's Office refuses to tell CAPS if it ever collected this fine.

In March 2001, the state Board of Veterinary Medicine fined Ms. Stoltzfus $500 for providing Amoxicillin to a customer without having a veterinary license. That same month, a district justice dropped 82 of 85 state charges against Ms. Stoltzfus due to an incomplete inspection of her kennel. The remaining charges were for overcrowding.

On June 26, 2003, the Humane League of Lancaster County seized 24 dogs and four cats from Puppy Love. They also seized business records. The Humane League contends that Ms. Stoltfuz has been selling AKC registered dogs despite her suspension. They also claim that Ms. Stoltfus and her husband neglect their dogs and sell sick and dying puppies. About one week later, a judge ordered the immediate return of the records seized by The League. The Stoltzfus' attorney argued that the records contain medical histories of each animal. He stated in his motion that the Humane League "has jeopardized the health and welfare of the 500-plus dogs" at Puppy Love because Mr. and Mrs. Stoltzfus won't know the type of vet care required for each animal without these records.

Raquel Ramos of Baltimore, Maryland purchased a mixed breed dog for $300 on November 9, 2002. Shortly thereafter, the dog was diagnosed with parvovirus, coccidia and pneumonia. Ms. Ramos spent more than $1300 to save her dog. The breeder was Raymond Alley in Lucasville, Ohio.

The Humane League of Lancaster County received six complaints in the first three months of 2002 from Puppy Love customers who had purchased with parvovirus or distemper. One of these customers was Margaret Alford. She purchased a mixed breed puppy from Puppy Love for $275 on January 30, 2002, which she recovered, and spent close to $1600 treating the dog for parvo. The dog died a few days later. The breeder of was Sharon Thompson in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania.

CAPS has also spoken to three other Puppy Love customers whose dogs had distemper. Pat Dwyer works for a veterinary clinic that was treating a mixed breed puppy with distemper. She adopted the dog from a family because they were thinking of returning the dog to Puppy Love. They had purchased the puppy for $300 shortly before Christmas. Ms. Dwyer's vet bills exceeded $1,000. Unfortunately, the puppy died in early January of 2002.

A college student, Anna Slutsky, also purchased a sick Puppy Love puppy in December of 2001. This dog died from parvovirus and distemper.

Luise and Ken Fortney bought a Rottweiler mix puppy, Zeus, from Puppy Love on December 20, 2001 as a Christmas present for their five-year-old son. Zeus died from distemper on 12/31/01. Ms. Stoltzfus finally returned the purchase price of the dog (around $300) but refused to reimburse the Fortneys for their vet bills of $827. The breeder was Raymond Alley. Read about Zeus in a letter from Luise Fortney to Joyce Stoltzfus.

In the first part of 1999, CAPS received a complaint from a customer who purchased a Golden Retriever puppy, Sandy, from Puppy Love for $400 in November 1998. The customer drove from Virginia to find a puppy. Ms. Stoltzfus brought out a dog she claimed to be Sandy's mother. The customer then asked Ms. Stoltzfus if Sandy's mother had hip clearance papers. Ms. Stoltzfus said she kept these papers in a safe at the bank and promised to fax them. The customer never received any hip clearance papers. Ms. Stoltzfus told the customer that the puppy had registration papers. The customer assumed that this meant American Kennel Club registration. After she came home with the dog, she realized Sandy was registered with the Continental Kennel Club. When the veterinarian examined initially examined the puppy, he said that Sandy was five-weeks-old. When the customer confronted Ms. Stoltzfus with this information, she said there was no way the dog could be that young. She also denied that the female dog she had shown the consumer was Sandy's mother and stated that she didn't have the mother on the premises.

By February, Sandy manifested severe hip and knee problems. She could barely stand up and cried while standing. The customer called Ms. Stoltzfus and told her about Sandy's medical condition. Ms. Stoltzfus said that no dog in Sandy's lineage had ever had hip or knee troubles. The customer couldn't afford hip replacement surgery. She asked Golden Retriever Rescue to take Sandy, but they refused since Sandy had come from Puppy Love. The Annapolis SPCA took Sandy in February 1999 and said it had a waiting list of 200 people who wanted Golden Retrievers. CAPS contacted the ASPCA and discovered that they had euthanized Sandy because of severe hip and knee problems. The customer was under the impression that the SPCA would find Sandy a home. They told her that once she left the dog with them, she could not find out Sandy's fate. In fact, the SPCA would not directly tell CAPS that they had euthanized the dog. The shelter employee said it was the SPCA's policy not to disclose this information, even to another animal protection organization.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office is encouraging anyone who has bought a Puppy Love dog to telephone the office at 800-441-2555. Please also submit the CAPS pet shop complaint form.
Published in CAPS News

AG Fisher accuses Lancaster Co. dog seller of selling sick puppies; Lawsuit seeks restitution, enhanced fines and ban on doing business in PA

Issued: Friday, December 5, 2003
Contact: 717-787-5211



HARRISBURG - Attorney General Mike Fisher's Bureau of Consumer Protection today filed a lawsuit against a Lancaster County dog seller accused of selling numerous puppies that were sick, diseased, genetically flawed, misrepresented and/or falsely characterized as eligible for American Kennel Club (AKC) registration. The lawsuit alleges violations of Pennsylvania's Consumer Protection Law, Dog Purchaser and Protection Act or "Puppy Lemon Law" and a prior 2000 consent agreement with Fisher's Office. The suit followed an investigation into numerous complaints from consumers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.

Fisher identified the defendants as Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, doing business as Puppy Love Kennel, 267 Riverview Road, Peach Bottom, Lancaster County.

"We allege that the defendants should have known that the puppies they were handling were not fit for purchase and should not have been sold to consumers," Fisher said. "Their failure to comply with our previous legal action plus the seriousness of these new allegations justify our request to the court to forever revoke their right to sell or participate in the sale of dogs in Pennsylvania."

According to investigators, the defendants between 2000 and 2003 sold dozens of puppies to consumers that were sick, had contagious or infectious diseases, congenital or genetic defects or were falsely characterized as healthy purebreds that would be recognized by the AKC for registration.

In the majority of complaints filed with Fisher's Office, consumers claimed that the defendants misrepresented the health status of the puppies sold despite receiving their Guarantee of Good Health certificates as required under law. Some of the alleged health problems included heart defects, heart murmurs, hip dysplasia, parvo virus, distemper, kidney failure, pneumonia, cancer, lameness, kennel cough, coccidia, giardia parasites, worms, mange, upper respiratory infections, malnutrition, vomiting, scabies, mites and fleas.

In some cases, consumers said that their puppies required moderate to extensive veterinary care soon after the date of purchase. In the worst cases, some new pet owners said that their puppies either died or had to be euthanized. The lawsuit also accuses the defendants of making false and/or misleading representations about the puppy's age, purebred status and/or worthiness to be registered with the AKC. In reality, the AKC in July 1990 notified defendant Joyce Stoltzfus that her privileges had been suspended and that it will no longer accept her puppy litter registrations. Consumers learned, after purchase, that the puppies were not eligible for AKC registration papers. AKC registration implies that a puppy has the characteristics and standards of a particular breed that are considered the most desirable for those seeking a purebred.

Consumers also claimed that the defendants either ignored their requests for payment of veterinary bills or other medical treatment up to the price of the puppy as required under the "Puppy Lemon Law." In cases when the defendants did respond, consumers said they became obstructive, confrontational and/or hostile.

Fisher said his Bureau of Consumer Protection in 1997 filed a lawsuit against the defendants involving similar allegations. The lawsuit was filed prior to the passage of Pennsylvania's Dog Purchaser and Protection Act or "Puppy Lemon Law." The suit was resolved in a 2000 consent agreement requiring the defendants to pay more than $35,000 in restitution and fines and cease all future violations of the Consumer Protection Law. The second lawsuit includes alleged Consumer Protection Law violations which violate the prior consent agreement.

"For that reason, I'm asking the court to impose an enhanced penalty of $5,000 for each violation of the consent agreement in addition to the fines associated with denying consumers their rights under the Puppy Lemon Law," Fisher said.

The lawsuit asks the court to:

  • Require the defendants to pay appropriate restitution to consumers.
  • Permanently bar the defendants from owning or operating any business involving the sale of puppies or dogs in Pennsylvania.
  • Require the defendants to pay enhanced civil penalties of $5,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law.
  • Require the defendants to pay civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the "Puppy Lemon Law" and $3,000 for each violation involving a consumer age 60 or older.
  • Appoint a receiver to determine and collect the defendants' assets to satisfy the court's order.The lawsuit was filed today in Commonwealth Court. The case is being handled by Senior Deputy Attorney General Seth A. Mendelsohn and Deputy Attorney General Jodi L. Zucco of Fisher's Bureau of Consumer Protection Office in Harrisburg.

Published in CAPS News
Thursday, 03 February 2005 19:00

CAPS Investigation of Puppy Love Kennel 2005

Stoltzfus, Joyce

Joyce Stoltzfus
Puppy Love Kennel
267 Riverview Rd.
Peach Bottom, PA 17563

CAPS Investigation: 2/4/05
USDA license would be required if S. 1139 passes


Approximately 300 dogs and puppies. Breeds: Pekingese, Puggles, Pit Bull Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Cock-a-poos, Boxers, various mixed breeds

Puppy Love Kennel had two separate facilities, one of indoor pens housing puppies only, and another of outdoor pens housing adult dogs and puppies.

Indoor puppy pens
These pens were inside a wooden barn about 25 feet wide and 40 feet long. The barn had a peaked roof, a doorway accessing it on one side, and five puppy pens on each of its longer sides. There was artificial lighting and concrete flooring in the barn.

Each pen measured about eight feet long and eight feet wide, with four-foot-tall wooden walls between pens and on the hallway-side of each pen. There were about a dozen puppies in each pen, each about eight to twelve weeks old and of varying breeds, including Pit Bull Terriers, Puggles, German Shepherds, Beagles, and various mixed breeds.

Each of the hallway walls had a sliding wooden doorway with a metal latch on the outside. Metal bars ran from the top of each wall to the ceiling. One side of the hallway had several bags of wood shavings piled up against it in three different places. The pens themselves had a layer of wooden shavings several inches thick thrown over their floors. More than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces was evident, as dried feces were visible in the shavings that had been thrown over old feces and urine not removed.

Each pen contained two plastic food dishes, a foot in diameter and four inches deep. They were filled to their tops with about three days’ worth of food for each pen and covered with a tan powder. Plastic water dishes in each pen were filled with murky brown water.

One black German Shepherd puppy, less than two pounds in weight, appeared emaciated. The stomach appeared sucked in and its ribs, spine, and hips clearly visible under its taught skin. One pen contained a white Pit Bull puppy, which appeared to weigh two pounds. The puppy appeared lethargic, convulsed slightly as though it was coughing, and had thick green mucous draining from its eyes and nostrils. The puppy’s eyes were nearly swollen shut, and it did not move at all while observed for several minutes, other than turning its head from side to side.

Outdoor pens
The other part of this kennel, within a hundred feet of the puppy barn, consisted of several rows of outdoor pens surrounded by a six-foot-high chain link fence about 60 feet long and 40 feet wide. The chain link sections surrounding the outdoor rows had green plastic strips set in them which blocked view into the compound from the outside.

Each row had ten adjacent pens, each measuring about seven feet long, three feet wide, and four feet high. Each cage was made of chain link wiring with the back two feet of each cage enclosed in wood with a doggy door framed in metal allowing access between these sections. Each cage contained five to eight dogs of various breeds and ages. Pekingese, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Beagles, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Maltese, Jack Russell Terriers, American Eskimos, and various mixed breeds were present. All of the dogs with white fur had yellow stains in their fur, and many dogs had wet fur.

The first row of pens against a 40-foot section of the privacy fence had the sides with chain-link doors facing to the inside of the compound. The second row of pens faced the first, the third row backed to the second row, and the fourth row faced the third row. Two rows of cages that faced each other had another row of four cages in a perpendicular row between them.

All were raised above the ground by two-foot-high wooden stilts and had treated wire flooring. Wooden beams framed the bottoms of the pens. All of the wood was painted red, with paint peeling in many areas and revealing a white coating underneath. The metal bars at the bottom of the chain link walls were all rusting. One pen, containing two Boxers and a Lhasa Apso mix, had its front chain link wall separated from the metal bar at its base. Metal sheets were used as roofs over the pens. There were several lights placed on the roofs of the kennel rows, with wiring running along the roofs of the pens. The walls with the doggy doors were covered with while plastic sheeting that had brown stains.

Each cage had a black plastic water bucket attached to its front chain-link door. A water spigot was in inside the kennel, with a water hose strewn across the ground. About three inches of snow and ice were on the ground of this kennel at the time of investigation.

The pens themselves were over concrete flooring, and there were several days’ accumulation of feces under them. There was bright and dark blood as well as mucous in the feces under several cages. One row of cages facing into the compound had the flooring below it raised up about 45 degrees so that urine and runny feces would wash down away from it, though large piles of feces were resting on the grade itself.

Sick, wet, dirty dogs
Several of the dogs and puppies in the outside pens were sick. One was a black German Shepherd mix weighing about 35 pounds with hair loss around its eyes. Another was an Australian Cattle dog puppy, about two months old and weighing about 25 pounds, that had thick green mucous build-up around its right eye and draining from its nostrils.

Two Maltese mixes, each weighing about ten pounds, had dirt and feces covering their soaked and yellow-stained fur. Another pen, containing about five dogs that each weighed about ten pounds, housed a black Poodle mix with large fur mats covering the dog’s face and body.

A black Cock-a-poo puppy weighing about five pounds had thick green mucous discharge from its nostrils. There were four other puppies in the pen with the sick Cock-a-poo, including three mixed-breed puppies each weighing about five to eight pound and a Boxer puppy weighing about 15 pounds.

In one pen was a Boxer weighing about 50 pounds, whose right eye was nearly swollen shut and draining a clear discharge. A Lhasa Apso mix weighing about 15 pounds had long curved toenails and severely matted fur around its face so that its eyes could not be seen and its nose was barely distinguishable.

Several other pens contained dogs and puppies of significantly different weights, such as one pen which housed a 40-pound Corgi mix, a 45-pound short-haired mixed breed, and a Jack Russell mix weighing about 25 pounds.

In several pens, the number and/or size of the dogs precluded all of the dogs occupying the boxes at the backs of their cages at one time and lying in a normal manner or turning about freely. For example, pens housed five dogs that each weighed 25 to 35 pounds, and other pens housed six to eight dogs that were five to 15 pounds in weight.
Published in CAPS News

State of Pennsylania Revokes Kennel License of Joyce Stoltzfus

URL: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pets/State_revokes_kennel_license_of_troubled_puppy_broker.html

Publication date: 2009-10-07

Publication name: Philly.com

Headline: State of Pennsylania Revokes Kennel License of Joyce Stoltzfus

Summary: CAPS has been gathering consumer complaints for the puppy mill of Joyce Stoltzfus in Peach Bottom, PA (Lancaster County) for many years.  We have investigated the facility.  Puppy Love Kennel (renamed CC Pets) was the focus of stories CAPS generated with “20/20,” and The Philadelphia Inquirer.  CAPS gathered over a hundred consumer complaints, which resulted in the first settlement with the Office of the Attorney General.  Stoltzfus was fined $35,000.  She continued to violate the laws and CAPS continued to receive complaints.  The Attorney General reached another settlement, this time with a fine of $75,000.

For more information visit: CC Pets / Puppy Love Kennels and the CAPS Investigation Report.
Published in CAPS News
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:08

Stoltzfus, Joyce

Approximately 300 dogs and puppies. Breeds: Pekingese, Puggles, Pit Bull Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Cock-a-poos, Boxers, various mixed breeds

Puppy Love Kennel had two separate facilities, one of indoor pens housing puppies only, and another of outdoor pens housing adult dogs and puppies.

Indoor puppy pens
These pens were inside a wooden barn about 25 feet wide and 40 feet long. The barn had a peaked roof, a doorway accessing it on one side, and five puppy pens on each of its longer sides. There was artificial lighting and concrete flooring in the barn.

Each pen measured about eight feet long and eight feet wide, with four-foot-tall wooden walls between pens and on the hallway-side of each pen. There were about a dozen puppies in each pen, each about eight to twelve weeks old and of varying breeds, including Pit Bull Terriers, Puggles, German Shepherds, Beagles, and various mixed breeds.

Each of the hallway walls had a sliding wooden doorway with a metal latch on the outside. Metal bars ran from the top of each wall to the ceiling. One side of the hallway had several bags of wood shavings piled up against it in three different places. The pens themselves had a layer of wooden shavings several inches thick thrown over their floors. More than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces was evident, as dried feces were visible in the shavings that had been thrown over old feces and urine not removed.

Each pen contained two plastic food dishes, a foot in diameter and four inches deep. They were filled to their tops with about three days’ worth of food for each pen and covered with a tan powder. Plastic water dishes in each pen were filled with murky brown water.

One black German Shepherd puppy, less than two pounds in weight, appeared emaciated. The stomach appeared sucked in and its ribs, spine, and hips clearly visible under its taught skin. One pen contained a white Pit Bull puppy, which appeared to weigh two pounds. The puppy appeared lethargic, convulsed slightly as though it was coughing, and had thick green mucous draining from its eyes and nostrils. The puppy’s eyes were nearly swollen shut, and it did not move at all while observed for several minutes, other than turning its head from side to side.

Outdoor pens
The other part of this kennel, within a hundred feet of the puppy barn, consisted of several rows of outdoor pens surrounded by a six-foot-high chain link fence about 60 feet long and 40 feet wide. The chain link sections surrounding the outdoor rows had green plastic strips set in them which blocked view into the compound from the outside.

Each row had ten adjacent pens, each measuring about seven feet long, three feet wide, and four feet high. Each cage was made of chain link wiring with the back two feet of each cage enclosed in wood with a doggy door framed in metal allowing access between these sections. Each cage contained five to eight dogs of various breeds and ages. Pekingese, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Beagles, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Maltese, Jack Russell Terriers, American Eskimos, and various mixed breeds were present. All of the dogs with white fur had yellow stains in their fur, and many dogs had wet fur.

The first row of pens against a 40-foot section of the privacy fence had the sides with chain-link doors facing to the inside of the compound. The second row of pens faced the first, the third row backed to the second row, and the fourth row faced the third row. Two rows of cages that faced each other had another row of four cages in a perpendicular row between them.

All were raised above the ground by two-foot-high wooden stilts and had treated wire flooring. Wooden beams framed the bottoms of the pens. All of the wood was painted red, with paint peeling in many areas and revealing a white coating underneath. The metal bars at the bottom of the chain link walls were all rusting. One pen, containing two Boxers and a Lhasa Apso mix, had its front chain link wall separated from the metal bar at its base. Metal sheets were used as roofs over the pens. There were several lights placed on the roofs of the kennel rows, with wiring running along the roofs of the pens. The walls with the doggy doors were covered with while plastic sheeting that had brown stains.

Each cage had a black plastic water bucket attached to its front chain-link door. A water spigot was in inside the kennel, with a water hose strewn across the ground. About three inches of snow and ice were on the ground of this kennel at the time of investigation.

The pens themselves were over concrete flooring, and there were several days’ accumulation of feces under them. There was bright and dark blood as well as mucous in the feces under several cages. One row of cages facing into the compound had the flooring below it raised up about 45 degrees so that urine and runny feces would wash down away from it, though large piles of feces were resting on the grade itself.

Sick, wet, dirty dogs
Several of the dogs and puppies in the outside pens were sick. One was a black German Shepherd mix weighing about 35 pounds with hair loss around its eyes. Another was an Australian Cattle dog puppy, about two months old and weighing about 25 pounds, that had thick green mucous build-up around its right eye and draining from its nostrils.

Two Maltese mixes, each weighing about ten pounds, had dirt and feces covering their soaked and yellow-stained fur. Another pen, containing about five dogs that each weighed about ten pounds, housed a black Poodle mix with large fur mats covering the dog’s face and body.

A black Cock-a-poo puppy weighing about five pounds had thick green mucous discharge from its nostrils. There were four other puppies in the pen with the sick Cock-a-poo, including three mixed-breed puppies each weighing about five to eight pound and a Boxer puppy weighing about 15 pounds.

In one pen was a Boxer weighing about 50 pounds, whose right eye was nearly swollen shut and draining a clear discharge. A Lhasa Apso mix weighing about 15 pounds had long curved toenails and severely matted fur around its face so that its eyes could not be seen and its nose was barely distinguishable.

Several other pens contained dogs and puppies of significantly different weights, such as one pen which housed a 40-pound Corgi mix, a 45-pound short-haired mixed breed, and a Jack Russell mix weighing about 25 pounds.

In several pens, the number and/or size of the dogs precluded all of the dogs occupying the boxes at the backs of their cages at one time and lying in a normal manner or turning about freely. For example, pens housed five dogs that each weighed 25 to 35 pounds, and other pens housed six to eight dogs that were five to 15 pounds in weight.

Published in Pennsylvania

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Deborah Howard

Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

Meet Deborah

CAPS Blog

Keep up-to-date about CAPS and read about issues affecting companion animals, especially those suffering in pet shops and puppy mills.

Visit CAPS Blog

Contact Us

Contact CAPS

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
759 CJC Hwy., #332
Cohasset, MA 02025
p: 339-309-0272
501 (c)(3) Tax ID#: 58-2040413

Contact by Webform

Class Action Lawsuits

scales of justice

If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

Read more about Happiness is Pets or Barkworks.

CAPS Complaint Form