Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Kathy Carman, 42(1) Pet store owner found with 74 dogs & 28 pups living in unhealthy conditions, 3 dogs have parvo and 1 dog was found dead

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento County

February 20, 2003  
Reed Carman, 41(1) Pet store owner found with 74 dogs & 28 pups living in unhealthy conditions, 3 dogs have parvo and 1 dog was found dead

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento County

March 8, 2003  
Vicky Bradish(1) Pet store manager found with 74 dogs & 28 pups living in unhealthy conditions, 3 dogs have parvo and 1 dog was found dead

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento County

March 8, 2003  
Kathy Carman, 42(2) Pet store owner found with 47 puppies in van, 1 dog found dead

Beebe, AR

White County

April 17, 2003  
Reed Carman, 41(2) Pet store owner found with 47 puppies in van, 1 dog found dead

Beebe, AR

White County

April 17, 2003  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Misdemeanor, Felony

(1) wanted in CA for 12 animal cruelty charges & 11 felony drug charges

(1)74 dogs, 28 pups & 50 rabbits

(2)47 dogs and pups

Convicted

 

The California Case:

Animal control officers arrested Kathy & Reed Carman of The Puppy Store at 3704 Auburn Boulevard after finding 3 dogs with confirmed cases of parvo and 1 dead dog. Deputies from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department filed felony charges of animal cruelty after removing 74 dogs for parvo testing.

Of the 74 dogs taken 20 dogs have developed potentially deadly parvovirus. The SPCA and a rescue group are trying to nurse the animals back to health.

          

Reed & Kathy Carman & Vicky Bradish. Photo's courtesy of The Sacramento Bee

This was not the first time officers were forced to remove animals from the store. 3 months prior they were called for another outbreak of parvo that killed more than 20 dogs. 215 puppies were handed over in December, 2002 - 35 dogs were infected and 23 of those pups died. The store had been temporarily shutdown and reportedly cleaned. Animal control officers are now hoping they will be able to shut down the store for good.

Jami Hook who purchased a dog from The Puppy Store won a $2600 judgment against the store because her dog developed parvo and later died. She hasn't received any money to date.

On 2/28/03 the stores the Carmans' faced a judge for a long list of criminal charges. They were charged with 11 counts of felony animal cruelty -- 1 for each dead animal, plus a count for the overall condition of the store and home.

The judge ordered that as a condition of bail, the defendant not be allowed to have any animals - whether they are possessed for personal or business reasons.

Before the court appearance the Carmans' had run a classified ad in the Sacramento Bee to sell 25 different breeds.

On 3/7/03 2 more people were taken to jail for allegedly selling sick pups. A few of the 74 dogs that were confiscated in the raid have died. Reed Carman was charged with 12 counts of felony animal cruelty. Vicky Bradish, the store manager has also been charged with 8 counts of animal cruelty. Prosecutors have discovered that all 3 suspects have convictions for methamphetamine possession.

What is parvovirus:
It is a seasonal disease specific to dogs. It spikes in late spring and throughout the summer months and occurs in adult dogs & puppies 16 weeks or younger. Parvo is transmitted through contact with an infected dogs bodily fluids. It attacks the gastrointestinal system, killing the cells that line the intestines, causing fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. It causes the dogs to lose their appetite. The dog dies from low blood sugar or from sepsis. It is a very painful death. The way to keep it from spreading is to not mix litters of puppies.

Update 2/20/03:
Despite an investigation and a spate of bad press, employees at the Puppy Store last week were preparing the Arcade-area shop for a new shipment of dogs.

Store employees said the shop is being held to a standard that even the county cannot meet. In response to complaints that dogs purchased were sick, county animal control officers paid several visits to the store before temporarily shutting it down in November. Officers reported finding rows of cages stacked 3 high with 4 to 5 puppies in each cage. After repeated attempts to bring the store into compliance with health and safety standards, the county Department of Animal Care and Regulation recommended that the store close temporarily and that owner Kathy Carman surrender the animals.

County officials turned over their findings to Brian Myers, Sacramento County deputy district attorney. Criminal or civil charges may be filed.

Carman handed over 215 puppies. An outbreak of the deadly parvovirus killed 23 of 35 infected dogs.

The store reopened December 10th after it had been decontaminated and workers had improved conditions where the puppies are kept. A swatch of cloth now prevents the public from peering through the store's glass door, and the windows are painted.

Vicky Bradish, store manager, said people jump to conclusions in response to the county's actions and media coverage of pet store abuses. The windows have been covered, she said, because people would see the puppies asleep in their cages and phone animal control officers to say the dogs were dead. "I call California the tattletale state," she said. "We teach our children from the time they're in kindergarten to tattle on their neighbors and tattle on their friends."

Bradish said the pet store sells 300 to 400 dogs a month. While there were only about 50 puppies in the store early last week, a sign posted on the door announced that 100 new puppies would be arriving for Valentine's Day. "Selling that many dogs, we're bound to have some problems," Bradish said. Not even the county can claim to have dogs entirely free of disease - especially parvovirus, she said.

"In a classroom, if 1 kid sneezes, pretty soon half the class sneezes," said Trish Green, Sacramento SPCA manager. "It's the same with puppies."

Bradish suggested that many of the dogs surrendered to animal control tested positive for parvo because they had recently been immunized. However, animal control veterinarian Cynthia Delany said it was possible - but highly unlikely - for puppies to test positive for 4 to 7 days after shots. The parvovirus is a seasonal disease specific to dogs, which spikes in late spring and throughout the summer months and occurs most often in puppies 16 weeks or younger, Delany said. Parvo is transmitted through contact with an infected animal's bodily fluids. The virus attacks the gastrointestinal system, killing the cells that line the intestines and causing fever, lethargy, vomiting and other symptoms. The disease causes the dog to lose its appetite. Often the animal dies from low blood sugar or from sepsis, Delany said. Either way, she said, "it's a very painful death." Animal welfare groups say that while the disease is not entirely preventable, there are steps that can be taken to isolate and contain sick animals.

The SPCA has an on-site veterinarian and all the puppies are vaccinated against the parvovirus when they arrive at the shelter, Green said. "There's a risk of getting an animal with an illness from anywhere - I don't care if it's a pet store, a breeder or a shelter," she said. The only way to tell for certain whether a dog is sick is if it's displaying symptoms. Tests don't always tell the truth, Green said, because dogs often will test negative during the disease's incubation period. However, shelters reduce the risk of spreading the disease, Green said, by not mixing litters of puppies as happens at pet stores.

Bradish said she and co-worker Julie Wilcox work in 45-minute shifts at the Puppy Store, clearing waste from cages and changing dirty water dishes. "From the time we get here in the morning to the time we go home, it's all about the puppies," she said. Bradish said the store operated within health and safety codes that ensure the animals have enough space to stand, turn around and lie down with a free range of motion.

Animal control spokeswoman Eileen Matson supported the store's adherence to the guidelines and said complaints had tapered off. But she said the health and safety codes are lax and fail to limit the number of animals a store can carry and how many can be in a pen together. Bradish said it is unfair for animal control officials to expect pet stores to assume liability for animals that become sick once they leave the store - a policy, she said, to which the county is not held. But Craig Wong, interim director of Animal Care and Regulation, disagreed. Although publicly operated pounds and shelters are exempted from the health and safety codes, the county's Bradshaw Road facility follows the same standards it expects of retail pet stores, he said. "We do not knowingly sell an animal that is sick." If an animal from the shelter becomes sick, the public has 10 days to return it for a full refund, Animal Control Officer Ruben Hernandez said. "Every pet store should abide by the county's standards ... to save money, to save the reputation of the store and the reputation of the people working for that store," said Krissy Conner, manager at Pet Zone on Auburn Boulevard.

Update 3/8/03:
Both Reed Carman and Vicky Bradish face felony and misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges stemming from investigations by several animal welfare agencies.

Animal control officers temporarily shut down the store in November because of health and safety code violations. Kathy Carman surrendered more than 200 puppies at that time.

On February 20th, Kathy Carman was arrested when animal control officers discovered a dead cocker spaniel puppy in her van.

Officers seized 74 dogs from the store at 3704 Auburn Blvd., and another 28 puppies from her North Sacramento home on Carroll Avenue in Del Paso Heights.

Since her arrest, several of the dogs have been diagnosed with the deadly parvovirus and other diseases.

The pups are under quarantine and are considered evidence in the investigation.

Update 3/20/03:
The pet store owners and the manager will appear in court today on multiple felony counts of animal cruelty. Owner Kathy Carman, 42, was arrested February 20th after animal control officials found a dead cocker spaniel in her van at the store.

Further investigation led to the arrests of Carmans' husband and pet store co-owner Reed Carman, 41, and store manager Vicky Bradish on March 8. Reed Carman faces an additional felony count of animal cruelty for more than 50 rabbits taken from the home. The rabbits were kept in small metal storage containers, officials said.

Despite the investigation, the Carmans' are trying to regain custody of the animals. On March 7 they submitted paperwork contesting the February 20th confiscation of the dogs.

Animal control workers dug up 500 square feet of city property near the Carmans' home, searching for the remains of dead pups.

The 3-hour search was suspended after no remains were found. The excavation came after animal control officials received tips that up to 200 pups were buried in a plot of vacant land between the Carmans' house and Arcade Creek.Eight employees and volunteers from the Sacramento SPCA used hand tools to dig through areas where low vegetation hinted at recent land upheaval. They based the area of their search on potential grave sites detected by a heat-seeking infrared device on the Sacramento Police Department helicopter. "We have reason to believe that a lot of them are buried in a certain area," said animal care officer Ruben Hernandez of the Sacramento County Department of Animal Care and Regulation. "We searched the area based on the information we received and within the scope of the warrant, but we were unable to find anything." The warrant limited the search to about 600 square feet near the home.

Kathy Carmans' father, Wayne Skidmore, 76, stood next to the site, shaking his head. "I can bet my life on it: They won't find anything," Skidmore said.

SSPCA Officer Katie Peralta said animals may be buried in areas outside the search warrant's perimeters. "There was some indication from some of the construction workers that they've been regrading out here for a couple of months, which may have scattered the remains," Peralta said. Although bulldozers were used to grade the land, it is not being developed.

Investigators have yet to learn where the Carmans' acquired the puppies. They do know that many of the dogs were brought in from out of state, Peralta said. Peralta said the case represents the most aggressive prosecution of a pet store owner in the Sacramento region.

Update 3/23/03:
The Carmans' and Bradish plead not guilty in Sacramento County Superior Court to multiple counts of animal cruelty. They all are scheduled to return to court April 3 for a preliminary hearing.

Update 3/27/03:
The Carmans' and Bradish are scheduled to return to court April 3rd for a preliminary hearing.

Kathy Carman was allowed to reopen the store in December, but authorities returned to the store in February after receiving more complaints.

Update 4/19/03:
The owners of the closed pet store are behind bars again.

The Carmans' were arrested in Beebe, AR., after purchasing 3 dogs in the parking lot of a truck stop.

As part of the Carmans' conditional release, they are prohibited from directly or indirectly being in possession of or attempting to purchase or sell any animal, said Sgt. Philip Hydron of the Beebe Police Department.

Acting on a tip, Beebe police set up surveillance at a truck stop and observed the Carmans' purchase 3 West Highland terriers for $600, Hydron said. An inspection of the couple's van revealed 47 dogs stuffed into 6 small cages. Many cages lacked food and water, and many of the animals were covered in feces, Hydron said. Officers also found 6.3 grams of methamphetamine in the van, he said.

The Carmans' are being held on a no-bail warrant out of Sacramento and $10,000 bail out of Beebe. The misdemeanor animal cruelty charges carry a maximum fine of $1,000 or 1 year in jail.

Update 10/25/03:
As a Superior Court judge sentenced a former Sacramento pet store owner to jail and another to probation, 10-month-old Stitch stayed home with a cough. The 5-pound Chihuahua is the only remaining evidence of the Carmans' cruelty to hundreds of pups and dogs, for which only Kathy Carman will serve jail time.

The remaining dogs have been treated and adopted to homes rescuers hope will be filled with love instead of parvovirus. The unlucky ones are dead. Stitch is somewhere in between.

Sacramento-area animal rights activists filled a Superior Court room to demand a tougher sentence for the Carmans', who last month pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts and 1 misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.

Judge Jane Ure sentenced Kathy Carman to 1 year in county jail, 5 years of formal probation and a 3 years suspended sentence, meaning that if she violates parole she must serve 3 years in state prison.

Reed Carman was given the opportunity to apply for work furlough in lieu of serving 240 days in county jail, but if his application is denied or he is unable to find work by December 21st, he must turn himself in and serve out his sentence. He, too, was given 5 years of formal probation and a 3-year suspended state prison sentence. Both are forbidden to own or care for an animal again.

Kathy Carman was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs; Reed Carman declined to comment about the case's outcome. "I'm a little disappointed with the sentence," said Deputy District Attorney Keri Sternberg, who had pushed for harsher punishment. "I think animal cruelty and their behavior in particular is not something that should be taken lightly. ... I think the sentence should have reflected that, and I don't think it did."

Vicky Bradish, plead guilty to animal cruelty charges and was sentenced to 500 hours of community service.

To date, 50 of the almost 250 puppies seized from the Carmans' have died of the deadly parvovirus, Hernandez said.

The case aroused the anger of many area animal activists, who wrote letters to Ure and wore black arm bands and "Speak for the Animals" pins in the courtroom. More than 1,500 of them signed a petition that also was submitted to Ure. Ure read excerpts of the letters that called the Carmans' behavior "despicable," "inhumane," "cruel and savage." "The court doesn't disagree with anything they've said," Ure said. She ordered that copies of the letters be given to the defendants to read.

The sentencing, however, was substantially less than what many had hoped for. "If they did this to humans, they'd hang them by the toenails," said Joyce Metzker, a member of Puppy Love Rescue, the team of volunteers that cared for many of the parvovirus-infected puppies. "They should've done hard time - those puppies did hard time." If history repeats itself, activists contend, the Carmans' will end up in state prison for 3 years. "Let's just say this. They violated the conditions of their bail ... so apparently they didn't learn their lesson then," Hernandez said. "Only time will tell if they listen this time."

Update 12/26/03:
The Carmans' & Bradish were convicted on multiple charges of animal cruelty. A Sacramento judge sentenced Kathy Carman to a year in the Jail. Reed Carman, was given until December 2003 to find a job or he too will serve time behind bars.

The Carmans' were also put on probation for 5 years. During that time, the couple is prohibited from dealing with animals in any way, including not owning any kind of pet.

After their business was closed following the 2nd raid, the Carmans' were arrested on more animal cruelty charges in Arkansas.

Reference:

KCRA channel 3 Sacramento Bee

The Arkansas Case:

A California couple has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of animal abuse after their van was found crammed with 47 dogs and pups.

Several of the dogs needed medical attention and some were lying in their own waste with no food or water.

41-year-old Reed Carman and 42-year-old Kathy Carman are also wanted in California on 12 animal cruelty charges, including 11 felonies.

The couple was arrested by police in Beebe on April 17 after California authorities tipped them off that the couple might be buying dogs in the area.

Police in Sacramento arrested the couple in March 2003 after searching their pet store, where they found 130 dogs. Some were dead, and others were in poor health. The Carmans' would buy dogs in the Midwest for sale in their shop.

After facing charges for possession of methamphetamine also found in their van, Arkansas authorities say the couple will be extradited to California.

Reference: KARK TV