The Pennsylvania dog law was written for the likes of John Esh and his son, Daniel.
The Lancaster County duo tops the list of the worst offenders of federal and state laws governing dog breeding kennels.
Their run-ins with the law over the past two decades include:
- The 1996 sale of a rabid puppy to a consumer whose child was bitten by the dog - the first and only case of a rabid dog in recent state history,
- In 1997 the two were sued by the Pennsylvania attorney general for selling hundreds of sick dogs without a license
- Both have had kennel licenses were revoked for non compliance. Reams of inspection reports from federal and state inspectors describe horrific kennel conditions for breeding mothers and their puppies: sweltering heat in summer, frigid temperatures in winter, filthy bedding, the overwhelming stench of ammonia.
- Inspectors noted dogs found in their kennels had eye infections, rotten teeth, and were completely covered in feces-caked hair mats, obstructing their ability to defecate.
- Large-breed dogs, Mastiffs and Labs, housed in cramped cages with broken wire. Adult males were housed with puppies.Small breed dogs were housed outside with no adequate shelter or bedding.
- The Eshs were notorious for selling sick puppies. Philly Dawg has even heard from some of the poor souls who spent thousands trying to save their pets that came from the Eshs two adjoining properties in Ronks - the heart of Lancaster's Amish country.
Daniel Esh, who in the face of mounting bad press changed his kennel name from Clearview to Scarlet Maple, had his state license revoked most recently in 2009. John Esh closed down his kennel (Twin Maple) rather than comply with the strict kennel regulations for commercial breeders.Or so he said.
It came as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Esh's history that John Esh was hauled back to district court last week to face charges of running an illegal kennel - again.
He was found guilty - again - and slapped with a $175 fine. That's about one-third of the cost of a Havanese puppy - one of the breeds the Eshs were known to sell.
Agriculture spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said John Esh was found with 27 dogs in his kennel. Esh, who was advertising his unlicensed kennel as Green Mountain Toy Puppies, was busted by dog warden Megan Horst who has been assigned to root out illegal kennels selling dogs on the Internet.
In addition to the fine, Esh was told to keep his dog population under 26 and not sell anymore dogs unless he has a kennel license to do so. If not, he was told he would be cited again, Krepps said.
Daniel Esh pleaded guilty last month for having unlicensed dogs, no rabies vaccinations Remember this is the same guy who sold a family a rabid puppy 17 years ago.
For people like the Eshs, it's just the cost of doing business - a very lucrative business.
Such is the revolving door of Pennsylvania's puppy mills.