The Pennsylvania SPCA has busted an illegal breeding operation in Philadelphia and seized 21 dogs - many of them sick with the deadly parvo virus.
Humane Law Enforcement officers entered a house on the 4300 block of Benner St. in the city's Mayfair section yesterday and found 10 adult dogs and 11 puppies being kept in cramped cages.
Kristie Mitchell, 34, and Daniel Carlin, 27, were cited with 42 counts of animal cruelty.
Mitchell has a history of animal abuse convictions dating to 2009, the PSPCA said in a press release.
The dogs , including Jack Russell terriers, Shih Tzus, labs and a beagle among others, were removed from the property and are being placed with area rescues, according to PSPCA spokeswoman Wendy Marano. Some of the dogs were ill or exposed to other sick dogs. There are reports that seven dogs died on the property in the past several weeks.
“We want to send a strong message that illegal breeding operations will not be tolerated,” said George Bengal, the PSPCA's director of Humane Law Enforcement. “Unfortunately the recidivism rate with illegal animal breeding remains high, and animals are suffering.”
Because of Mitchell’s history, Humane Officers have kept a close eye on her, Marano said. Officers initially visited the location on Sept. 18 and removed a dog and a cat. They returned with a search warrant to remove the remaining animals.
The two were cited for running an illegal kennel because of Philadelphia's 12-dog limit. Had this couple been operating outside of Philadelphia they would have faced no violations for running an illegal kennel because the threshold for obtaining a kennel license is 26 dogs.
Marano said Mitchell was seeking a state kennel license. Thanks to the changes in the dog law in 2008, she will not be able to get a kennel license in Pennsylvania for 10 years because of her cruelty convictions.
Marano said the public should be very cautious about where they get their animals. There are thousands of dogs looking for new homes at local shelters and rescues Petfinder.com is great resource and there are many breed rescues. If you are looking at a breeder do your research. Ensure the breeder is reputable, get references, including from a veterinarian, check the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture licensed kennel database (www.agriculture.state.pa.us) make sure to see the conditions the animals are living in and meet the puppy's parents.