Pennsylvania has pulled the plug on the Chester County dog breeder who sold Vice President Joe Biden a puppy in 2008.
The state Department of Agriculture revoked the kennel license belonging to Linda Brown, who operates Jolindy's Shepherds in Spring City, for repeated violations to the state dog law governing care of dogs in licensed kennels.
In its Nov. 19 order, the agency listed dozens of violations, including filthy kennels, contaminated food and water and dogs crammed in cages with less than six inches of headroom. Dog wardens reported seeing dead and dying rats on the property on several occasions and that it was so dark in some kennel areas they were unable to see the animals or their cages to conduct their inspections.
"We have repeated poor kennel conditions there," said Jessie Smith, special deputy secretary of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
Brown's attorney, Jeff Conrad of Lancaster, appealed the ruling, arguing that the charges were "unfounded and bogus." He said Brown was not given the opportunity to make corrections. He noted that on three occasions in the past two years a Chester County district judge found Brown not guilty on multiple charges.
But state officials say they have extensive photo documentation that Brown ignored their orders to clean up her kennel.
A hearing on the license revocation is set for May 24 before a state hearing officer in Harrisburg.
Until the appeal hearing, Brown is allowed to sell her remaining dogs, but may not breed or acquire new dogs. She also continues to be subject to the dog law and her kennel will continue to be inspected, state officials said.
Brown had 70 dogs on the property at the time of the last inspection in September. If her kennel license revocation is finalized, she may keep no more than 25 dogs, the threshold for requiring a state license. Brown has operated Jolindy's Shepherds (identified in state records as Wolf Den Kennel) since at least 2003. At one time she had 122 dogs on the premises.
Brown told Inquirer reporter Kathleen Brady Shea on Monday that she blames her troubles on having sold then Vice President-elect Biden a German Shepherd puppy. [though she advertises that fact on her website.]
“Ever since I sold the puppy to Vice President Biden, it’s been a living hell," she said. "They’ve pushed me to close up. I’m leaving Pennsylvania as soon as possible. I’m done fighting. They wore me down.”
Brown says she has her property up for sale and plans to relocate to another state.
Asked about the charges, Brown accused the bureau of "nitpicking" and says she has her employees - "Mexicans working seven days a week" - clean up after the dogs.
“My puppies poop, and they clean it up," she said.
Among the other recent violations, Brown was cited for failing to keep proper sales records.
In April 2006, the American Kennel Club suspended Brown from all AKC privileges for one year and imposed a $1,000 fine for having submitted or caused to be submitted three litter registration applications that she knew, should have known, or had a duty to know contained false certifications as to the sire and/or dam.
At the time he bought his dog, now known as Champ, in Dec. 2008, Biden received widespread criticism for purchasing a dog from a breeder rather than adopting one from a shelter. Biden promised at the time he would adopt a second dog, but so far has not yet added another pet to his family, according to his spokeswoman.