Sunday, August 30, 2015

State revokes kennel license of troubled puppy broker

The state has revoked the kennel license of a Lancaster County puppy broker with a decades-long history of consumer fraud and other violations.

State revokes kennel license of troubled puppy broker

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UPDATE: The owners of CC Pets have appealed their kennel license revocation. The hearing before an administrative officer will be held at the Department of Agriculture building in Harrisburg at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, who revoked the kennel license, will make the determination on the appeal.

 

The state has revoked the kennel license of a Lancaster County puppy broker with a decades-long history of consumer fraud and other violations.

The Department of Agriculture stripped CC Pets LLC kennel owners Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus of their kennel license only weeks before a six-month, court-imposed license suspension was to have expired. 

"There is a provision under the new dog law that allows the bureau to revoke a kennel license if there has been a cease and desist order involving the sale of dogs," said Justin Fleming, spokesman for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. "The bureau decided to step in an revoke the license based on that court action."

It was not yet known if the couple will appeal the decision by Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. The kennel owners were notified by mail on Sept. 25 and have ten days from receipt of the letter to file an appeal, said Fleming.

A state judge on April 9 ordered the Peach Bottom kennel to close for six months and fined its owners $166,000 for repeatedly violating a four-year-old agreement with state authorities. Commonwealth Court Judge Barry F. Feudale called the business practices of Stoltzfuses "clearly deceptive" and "underhanded."

A spokesman for Attorney General Tom Corbett said Corbett was pleased with the agency's decision.

"We believe that the Department of Agriculture exercised discretion in revoking the license," said Corbett's spokesman, Kevin Harley. "There is ample evidence to support the decision including numerous violations of the puppy lemon law, the dog law and consumer protection laws."

CC Pets sold more roughly 2,000 puppies last year, for between $125 and $900 each, putting it among the state's highest-volume dog sellers

The kennel, once known as Puppy Love, has been the subject of investigations and consumer fraud lawsuits for at least 20 years.

In 2000, the kennel was fined $35,000 by the state for selling sick puppies and misinforming buyers about the health or breeding qualities of the animals.

In 2001 the State Board of Veterinary Medicine cited Joyce Stoltzfus for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

Then, in 2005, the kennel was the subject of the largest-ever state consumer fraud settlement involving the sale of sick or diseased dogs. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 171 customers in seven states. The kennel operators were required to pay a $75,000 fine and provide purchasers with a health certificate showing that a veterinary examination took place 15 days before purchase.

Under terms of the settlement the kennel also was ordered to identify itself in classified ads.

An Inquirer review in late 2007 and 2008 found that scores of classified ads placed with The Inquirer and other newspapers and Internet sites failed to identify the business.

The Attorney General's Office filed the contempt petition with Commonwealth Court last year after the newspapers and Internet sites confirmed that classified ads placed by CC Pets in 2007 and 2008 did not contain any identification.


 

 

Inquirer Staff Writer
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Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
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