Coalition to Ban
When a violation is identified during an inspection of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed dealer’s facility, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) authorizes Animal Care (AC) to take remedial action against the violator by assessing a fine, suspending or revoking the license, or pursuing criminal penalties. Before taking these actions, AC also considers other enforcement options: no action, a letter of information (an informal warning letter), an official warning letter, and an investigation.
Investigations are conducted by Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’s) Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) unit, which carries out enforcement activities and provides support to all APHIS programs. An investigation may result in a stipulation, suspension or revocation of license, or confiscation of animals. A stipulation is an agreement between APHIS and the violator, where the violator can pay a reduced penalty by giving up his right to a formal administrative hearing. APHIS’ Financial Management Division in Minneapolis is responsible for collecting the stipulations and monetary penalties.
Cases that warrant formal administrative action undergo Office of the General Counsel review for legal sufficiency prior to issuance of a formal administrative complaint before the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (Department) administrative law judges. If the case is appealed, a final decision is made by the Department’s Judicial Officer. Formal actions may result in license suspensions or revocations, cease-and-desist orders, monetary penalties, or combinations of these penalties.
2010-2012 USDA Inspections - Robert and Brenda Brady (Shreve)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Harvey Burkholder (Shiloh)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Settlement Agreement - Marvin Burkholder (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Wayne Burkholder (Baltic)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Linda Burrier (Newcomerstown)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Allen Byler, Rose Hills Kennels (Salesville)
2010 USDA Inspection - Freeman Byler, Dought Valley Kennel (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Tom Coleman (Danville)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Katherine Crabtree, Hill Top Farm (Lucasville)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - D M L Kennel, LLC (Abe N. Miller, formerly House of Pets; currently operating as Quail Creek Kennel, LLC) (Charm)
2012 USDA Inspection - Albert Erb (Sugarcreek)
2010 USDA Inspection - Vicky Galle, Perfect Endings Farms (Mount Vernon)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - John Garman (Plymouth)
2005-12 Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Monroe County - Norman Hale (Stafford)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Hershberger Farms LTD (Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Alvin Hershberger, A & E Kennels (Sugarcreek)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Mervin Hershberger (Apple Creek)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Mose Hershberger (Sugarcreek)
2011-12 USDA Inspections and Settlement Agreement - License Revoked! - Roy Hershberger (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Owen Hershberger, O&M Crossroad Kennel (Baltic)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Willis Hershberger (Millersburg)
2011-13 USDA Complaint and Consent Decision and Order - Lanzie "Junior" Horton (Millersburg)
2010-11 USDA Inspections - John Jamison (Arcanum)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Decisions and Orders - Isaac Martin (Shiloh)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Dan Mast (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Orus Mast (Dundee)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Abe and Allen Miller (Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Allen Miller, Tri-Angle Acres Kennel (Sugarcreek)
2010-11 USDA Inspections - David Miller, D & E Pets (Baltic)
2010 USDA Inspections - David Miller (Certificate -0171, Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - David Miller (Certificate -0311, Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Settlement Agreement - Dennis Miller (Millersburg)
2011 USDA Inspections - Eli Miller (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - John Miller, (Baltic)
2009-11 USDA Inspections - Joseph Miller, Mohican Hills Pets (Loudonville)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Lester D. Miller (Baltic)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Myron Miller, A & M Kennel (Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Ray Miller (Sugarcreek)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Roy Miller (Sugarcreek)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - William Miller (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Harold Neuhart & Marilyn Keyes, (former owner, Ohio Dog Auction) (Senecaville/Farmerstown)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Andy Nisley, Nunda Valley Kennels (Howard)
2012 USDA Inspections - Pups to Go LLC, Nathan and Sara Bazler DBA Online Puppies (Mount Vernon)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Quail Creek Kennel, LLC (Abe N. Miller, formerly House of Pets) (Charm)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Quantus Center LLC (David Hershberger) (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Eli Raber (Baltic)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Ervin Raber, Golden View Kennels (Founder, Buckeye Dog Auction; Past President, Ohio Professional Dog Breeders Association) (Baltic)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Jonas Raber, Sunset Kennels (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Roy Raber, Raber Kennels & Supplies (Baltic)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Daniel Schlabach (Fresno); now dba Evergreen Designer LLC (Charm)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Loran Schlabach (Dundee)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Reuben Schlabach, Sharp Run Kennels (Millersburg)
2012 USDA Official Warning - Richie Shehorn, Eddies Collision Center LLC (Wauseon)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Michael Smailes, Sharmis Kennel (Warsaw)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Emery & Mary Stutzman, Hillcrest Kennels (Peebles)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Andy Troyer, Woodland Kennel (Fredericktown)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Atlee Troyer (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Ben Troyer (Baltic)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Emanuel Troyer (Fresno)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Freeman Troyer, Linfree Kennel (Apple Creek)
2011-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Marlin Troyer (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Mose Troyer Jr. (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Reuben Troyer (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Wayne Troyer (Baltic)
2011-13 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Andy Weaver, Weaver Kennel (Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Adam Yoder, Shining Eyes Canines (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections - Andy Yoder Jr., A&M Yoder Kennel (Sugarcreek)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Andy Yoder, Yoder's Backroad Kennel (Millersburg)
2010-13 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Christ Yoder, Creekside Kennels (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Delbert Yoder (Sugarcreek)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Eli/Ivan/John/Robert/Roy Yoder (Baltic)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Emanuel Yoder (Fresno)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Jacob Yoder, Jay Kennels (Millersburg)
2010-12 USDA Inspections - Jonas Yoder, Sugar Valley Puppies (Sugarcreek)
2010-12 USDA Inspections and Stipulation Agreement - Levi Yoder (Millersburg)
2011-13 USDA Inspections and Official Warning - Lydia and Robert Yoder, Meadow View Kennel (Fredericksburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Consumer Complaint - Owen Yoder (Millersburg)
2009-12 USDA Inspections and Consumer Complaint - Paul Yoder (Millersburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Steve Yoder (Frederickburg)
2011-12 USDA Inspections - Vernon Yoder (Millersburg)
January 15, 2011 Ohio Dog Auction
Over 500 dogs and puppies were housed overnight before the auction in three 48 foot long trailers. The cages were stacked 4 high. The trailers were very cold. Though the overnight temp was 19 degrees, only one small propane heater was provided in each of the trailers. In two of the trailers, the heaters ran temporarily out of fuel.The cages had wire floors with no resting boards. The dogs must stand, walk and lay down on wire forcing their toes to spread out unnaturally. Several dogs were observed with lesions between their toes where the flesh had split.
Of the 504 dogs listed for the January sale, 300 came from the Clearwater Kennel in Cushing, MN. The Clearwater Kennel is 893 miles from the Farmerstown Auction, and has received dozens of citations from USDA inspections during the past 14 months, including transportation-related violations. The almost 900 mile journey from Minnesota required over 17 hours of frigid travel for the dogs.
A review of 2010 USDA inspection records shows that Clearwater Kennel has been cited for numerous federal violations such as:
Conditions observed by USDA inspectors at Clearwater Kennel are comparable to the conditions that make headlines when a puppy mill operation is shut down. But what the news outlets decry is not "new." Despite the headlines and media attention, the inhumane conditions are not unusual-they occur everyday.
Some dogs from the Clearwater Kennel had mucous discharge from their eyes, skin inflammation and overgrown nails. Many appeared lethargic and depressed. Others paced frantically from side to side.
There were several cages without food and water, and in others the unsecured water bowls had dumped over. The smell of urine and feces was overwhelming. Many dogs shivered constantly in the cold.
Security at the Farmerstown Dog Auction last month, as it is with all such auctions, was extraordinarily tight. The Holmes County Sheriff's Department provided security. They maintained a strong presence with three deputies standing at the entrance and two sheriff's department cars in the parking lot.
Deputies searched people for cell phones and cameras. Signs were posted throughout the grounds warning, "No Cell Phones, No Cameras," and "You are Subject to Personal Search."
One officer patrolled the staging area and trailers to ensure that no one photographed or video taped conditions. Security concerns seemed 100% focused on keeping people out who might be critical of the auction. Zero security or compliance activity was directed to regulations for the well-being of the animals.
The poor conditions confirm the urgent need for a complete ban of such sales. Signatures are currently being gathered all across Ohio for a ballot initiative. Documentation obtained by Animals’ Angels at the January 15 sale will be used to support the Ohio Dog Auctions Act.
May 22, 2010 Ohio Dog Auction
An internal government report has confirmed dogs are dying and living in horrific conditions due to lax government enforcement of large kennels known as puppy mills.
May 2010 USDA Audit
* A request for all documentation pertaining to these facilities was requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and will be published upon receipt from the USDA.
Section 1: Enforcement; Finding 1: AC's Enforcement Process Was Ineffective Against Problematic Dealers
Example 3 (pages 12-13; includes Figure 4 - Deep Pool of Feces and Urine Under Occupied Kennel):
At a facility in Ohio with 88 adult dogs, AC cited the breeder for 23 violations (including 7 repeats) during 3 inspections from August 2005 to January 2008. In July 2007, AC sent an official warning to correct the identified care and cleanliness violations or face a "more severe penalty." In January 2008, AC found the same violations but, instead of imposing a more severe penalty, sent another official warning.
National instructions state that an official warning can be sent if no other enforcement action was taken against the violator in the previous 3 years. In this case, the violator had received an official warning 7 months before so a more serious action was warranted. When we asked AC why a more serious action was not taken, regional management told us that the breeder was making progress. Consequently, national instructions were not followed in order to give the breeder "a reasonable opportunity" to comply with AWA.
Four months later, during our visit to the facility in June 2008, AC cited the breeder for another 9 violations (including 4 repeats). For example, a large amount of feces and urine was pooled under the kennels producing an overpowering odor (see figure 4). The inspector recommended no enforcement action.
Four months later, the breeder was re-inspected and cited for 4 more violations (including 3 repeats). Again, AC took no enforcement action because the violator was "making credible progress," as noted in AC’s "Enforcement Action Option Worksheet."
Section 2: Stipulations; Finding 4: APHIS Misused Guidelines to Lower Penalties for AWA Violators
Good Faith Penalty Reduction (page 33):
Good faith is defined in the guidelines as "a person who shows good faith may be willing to comply and correct violations; have animals that are in good health that do not suffer as a result of the violations. . . . In contrast, [a person who] lacks good faith may: have repeat violations . . . engage in regulated activity after having surrendered their license or after being notified of the Act’s licensing requirements."
If the violator demonstrates good faith, APHIS reduces the statutory maximum on the penalty worksheet by 50 percent. If the violator demonstrates a lack of good faith, a penalty reduction is not applied. However, APHIS established a third penalty reduction—25 percent—which it gives to the majority of violators that are unable to show either evidence of good faith or a lack of it—no evidence either way.
We found 13 cases where the agency applied a 50-percent or 25-percent good faith penalty reduction without merit. This included:
One licensed breeder in Ohio, with no veterinary qualifications, operated on a pregnant dog without anesthesia; the breeder delayed calling a veterinarian and the dog bled to death. The inspector also found that 40 percent of the dogs in the kennel were blind due to an outbreak of Leptospirosis. The inspector determined that the facility’s water was contaminated and had caused the outbreak.
Guidelines state that "a person who shows ‘good faith’ . . . [has] animals that are in good health that do not suffer as a result of the violations . . ." Despite the lack of good faith demonstrated by the breeder, APHIS applied a 25-percent good faith penalty reduction to lower the penalty. Four months later, a subsequent inspection continued to document violations at the facility. The inspector reported that "this is a veterinary care issue that continues to be a serious problem—failure to provide adequate veterinary care for over 200 adult dogs."
History of Violations (page 33):
We found that in 22 cases, APHIS allowed a 25-percent reduction of the maximum penalty amounts for "no prior history of violations," even though the violators had a prior history of violations, as shown in the IES tracking system or through our review of the case files:
A breeder in Ohio with about 62 adult dogs was cited for 1 minor, 16 significant, and 12 serious violations during 5 inspections between 2005 and 2006. The violations included the breeder’s failure to inform his attending veterinarian that some of his dogs delivered dead puppies, which is important if the puppies died of a disease like Brucellosis. The breeder was also cited for administering medications to his dogs without his attending veterinarian’s knowledge. Although the breeder was issued an official warning in 2005 for numerous violations including inadequate veterinary care, APHIS gave him a 25-percent penalty reduction in 2007 for "no prior history of violations."
October 7, 2009 Ohio Dog Auction
After combing the auction on Oct. 7, Bill Smith and his group, Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), along with Pennsylvania SPCA agents and veterinarians, purchased 12 Lancaster County dogs that they planned to use as evidence showing that abuse still existed at some kennels a year after passage of a tougher dog law.
When the group returned to Pennsylvania hours after the purchase, state SPCA officials prepared charges against six of the 12 Lancaster County breeders who sent dogs to the auction. "The dogs were in absolutely deplorable conditions," said William Lamb, whose West Chester law firm represented the state SPCA. "Based on the state of neglect of the animals, criminal charges were filed."
Sadly, the case fell apart and the charges were withdrawn against breeders Loren Nolt of East Earl; James Zimmerman of Ephrata; Nathan Myer of Lititz; Ella Mae Zimmerman of New Holland; Steve Stoltzfus of Lititz; and John S. Fisher of Gordonville. Kennel inspection reports (available on request) for several of the breeders charged in this case reflect that they had been warned by state inspectors for housing dogs exhibiting signs of poor health.
• Nathan Myer's April 2009 inspection report notes seven female dogs displaying signs of paw or leg injuries, as well as a Llasa with an eye injury and another dog who is unresponsive and lethargic. It is only after Myer is ordered by the state that he provides these dogs with veterinary care.
• John S. Fisher surrendered four dogs with questionable health to the Lancaster Humane League in 2007. In April 2008, Fisher was ordered by the state to have a Boston Terrier in his kennel seen by a vet. According to the report, the dog had been involved in a fight with another dog and was limping with lacerations on her front leg. The dog had been injured days before, but was treated only after Fisher was required to do so by the state.
• James Zimmerman's July 2009 inspection report mentions a black Cocker Spaniel appearing to have an untreated cherry eye in its left eye. Oddly enough, one of the dogs purchased by the PSPCA at the Ohio auction three months later was a black Cocker Spaniel with an untreated cherry eye in its left eye from Zimmerman's kennels! If this is the same dog, then did state inspector Travis Hess fail to follow-up with Zimmerman after ordering him to have the dog seen by a vet within seventy-two hours back in July? Did this dog continue to suffer for another three months until finally being sent to auction in Ohio? Was the vet who signed off on this dog in July, the same vet who signed the dog's health certificate for the auction in Ohio?
> Read the rest of the story...
UPDATE! Scarlet-Maple Farm Kennel in Lancaster, owned by Daniel P. Esh (a breeder who consigned dogs at the October 7, 2009 auction), has been closed by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law effective March 19, 2010! Mr. Esh's commercial kennel license was revoked in 2008 because of poor kennel conditions. During multiple inspections in 2007 and 2008 (available on request), dog wardens found moldy food, poor maintenance, excessive feces, rodents and inadequate cage sizes for the dogs, among other violations.
March 21, 2009 Ohio Dog Auction
Animals’ Angels investigators were present at the March 21 Dog Auction in Farmerstown, Ohio. Upon arrival, they immediately noticed a white trailer full of dog crates piled on top of each other. The truck and the trailer violate several federal regulations.
The investigators confirmed that the truck pulling the trailer belonged to the kennel, "Pick of the Litter“ from Minnesota. The owner, Kathy Bauck, sold a significant number of dogs at the Farmerstown auction. Animals’ Angels will present the evidence to authorities in charge.
> Read the investigative report...