Few licensed kennels in the state have had such a poor record of compliance as Burkholder Farm Kennel in Kutztown, Berks County. T.V. viewers the world over saw images of Burkholder's jury-rigged "exercise wheels" - fan-casings attached to the side of a beat-up trailer on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008.
The Department of Agriculture database shows citations issued to owner Aaron Burkholder dating back to 2004, and things only got worse. In 2008 the agency moved to revoke his license. The kennel was inspected 13 times that year with no improvement. Violations included inadequate shelter for dogs housed outdoors (in calf hutches), poor drainage, inadequate light (it was so dark dogs could not be seen), broken wires (in among other places, the wheels) filthy bedding and water and food bowls, feces, hair and dirt-filled pens.
Burkholder, it should be noted, is also listed as a certified organic farmer on New Jersey and Pennsylvania farm market Web sites.
Despite the miserable track record, which includes convictions on multiple counts of dog law violations, Burkholder appealed the department's decision to revoke his license.