Breeder implicated in suspected puppy mill
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
Published Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:31PM PDT
The B.C. SPCA is pushing for animal cruelty charges against an Abbotsford dog breeder after seizing 14 badly neglected dogs from a suspected puppy mill in the Fraser Valley.
The dogs, including Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, pugs and terrier crosses, were taken from an Abbotsford home earlier this week. The SPCA says the owner of the dogs also bred animals in other locations including Maple Ridge and Chilliwack.
CTV News has learned the breeder under investigation is Mel Gerling, who operates B&B Kennels in Abbotsford. The SPCA says two of his locations, including a pet store he owns in Surrey, Pet Paradise, are also under investigation.
Senior Animal Protection Officer Eileen Drever told ctvbc.ca the SPCA has issued numerous orders against the breeder in the past, but he's always complied.
"In this case we received a concern from a member of the public and found a number of animals in distress," she said, adding that all of the dogs were assessed by a veterinarian in the past 24 hours.
"We found that lots of the dogs have dental issues; some of them have loose or rotting teeth which is very painful. One or two have skin issues."
Most troubling might be that many of the pups were found to have a luxated patella, a common knee problem in small or toy dogs that causes the kneecap to dislocate and can cause lameness. The condition is often inherited through genetics.
"He shouldn't be breeding these dogs with this condition," she said. "It's not right."
A website for B&B Kennels says Mel Gerling has been breeding dogs for 22 years and states in underlined text it is "not a puppy mill."
"All of my puppies are raised in our home under foot and not in a kennel. They go outside to romp and play under close supervision," Gerling writes in the "about us" section.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA, said the recent seizure highlights the need for municipalities to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores.
"Unfortunately there is currently little to stop unscrupulous breeders from exploiting animals for profit when they can sell their puppies through local pet stores, classified ads and online sites," she said.
"If people could see first-hand the sickening conditions these animals are forced to endure they would be appalled."
Richmond City Council is considering a possible ban on the sale of dogs in pet stores on Oct. 4.