Report lists 4 PA kennels among 101 worst puppy mills in U.S.

The Humane Society of the United States today released a report the 101 worst dog breeding kennels in the United States, among them were four kennels in Pennsylvania and a New Jersey dog dealer who buys puppies from Pennsylvania kennels.

In its eighth annual report on conditions in commercial breeding facilities in the U.S., HSUS highlights kennels where federal and state inspectors documented an array of violations and inhuman conditions including leaving dogs to suffer in the extreme heat and cold, leaving dogs to suffer from untreated medical conditions, euthanizing animals rather than provide them warmer conditions.  (Read the full report here.)

The Pennsylvania kennels cited for repeated violations of the dog law - including filthy conditions, high ammonia levels, poor ventilation, rodent infestations, lack of veterinary care - were in Lancaster and Berks counties. 

"It's disappointing that despite great strides in enforcement in 2014, Pennsylvania continues to tolerate repeat offenders with nominal fines," said Sarah Speed, director of the Pennsylvania office of HSUS. "The process for license revocation is cumbersome and far too easily manipulated by bad actors. If these kennels were finally and fully shut down it would provide for the diversion of badly needed resources to fighting illegal unlicensed kennels operating primarily over the internet."

The kennels named are:

-Deep Run Kennel, Lebanon, PA – Received written warnings and a citation from the state in 2013. Although it passed some of its recent inspections, recurring problems have been documented at this kennel for about five years. In January 2013, Deep Run Kennel received a written and verbal warning from state inspectors for high ammonia levels, poor ventilation and a rodent infestation. In February 2013, the kennel received another warning for dogs without the minimum amount of kennel space. In June 2013, state animal wardens noted that there were 70 dogs on the premises and “all dogs were due for veterinary examinations on or before May 5, 2013, and they had not been completed.” In 12/13/12, the kennel received a warning for unacceptable ammonia levels and a rodent problem in the kennels. In 2010, the kennel received multiple written warnings for dogs without water, excessive feces, unsafe conditions and other problems. State license #03968.

JR’s Kennel, Quarryville, PA – Piles of feces, operating without a license. In January 2014, a state dog warden found this kennel to be operating without a license. There were more than 50 dogs and puppies on the premises. The kennel had been previously licensed and had been cited and warned numerous times by state officials for issues related to inadequate housing, poor ventilation, piles of feces, veterinary care issues and other problems. In March 2014, inspectors returned to the kennel pending approval of a new license and found that there was still no operating ventilation system. PA Lic #02343.

Ronks Kennel, Ronks, PA – Received 15 warnings from the state and three citations. There are two different license numbers assigned to Ronks Kennel, but both are on Ronks Road and share a phone number. Since 2006, the Ronks Kennel sites have received 15 different warnings from state dog wardens and at least three different citations, most of them under the 05171 license number. Issues found in 2013 and 2014 included dogs in need of veterinary care, dogs without adequate heat shivering in the cold, excessive feces and unsafe conditions. Lic. #05171 and lic. #02422.

-Run Way Kennel, Gordonville, PA – Sick dogs found at nine inspections; failed to vaccinate for rabies at six inspections. Since 2006, Run Way Kennel has been cited by local dog wardens six times for failing to properly vaccinate dogs for rabies, a significant public health risk. In addition, inspectors found sick animals in need of veterinary care during nine different inspections, and issued nine different warnings and six citations over a seven-year period. Other problems noted repeatedly included excessive feces and dirty and unsafe conditions. In 2013 alone, the kennel failed four state inspections. Issues found in 2013 that were also mirrored in past inspections included dogs without rabies vaccinations, filthy conditions and numerous sick or injured dogs in need of veterinary care. The kennel has passed one inspection so far in 2014 (Feb. 2014). State license #03925.

- William/Bill Roberts, aka John Roberts, Gloucester County, NJ – Reportedly sells sick puppies on puppyfind.com. William Roberts has been accused of selling sick puppies on multiple occasions over the years, but The HSUS found that he still had numerous puppies for sale on puppyfind.com as recently as February 2014. In 2008, 28 dogs were seized from his home and he was briefly jailed, but news sources say the charges were later administratively dropped. However, Roberts was found selling sick puppies again in 2012 and 2013. Roberts was the subject of an ABC 6 Action News report in November 2013 after a woman who purchased a shih tzu from him said the puppy died of Parvovirus a few days later. In 2012 the county issued a cease and desist order to Roberts after getting another complaint that he was illegally selling sick dogs. But ABC 6 Action News found him still selling puppies out of his car as recently as October 2013. Action News found Williams selling the dogs under the name John Roberts. Pet Watch New Jersey (pwnj.org) states that he sells puppies out of a red truck and also advertises on breeders.net.

Here is the 2008 story I wrote on a raid by the NJSPCA involving 28 sick puppies removed from a closet in Roberts' home.