|Who, age||What||Where||When||Last Known Address|
|Mel Gerling(1)||44 dogs stopped at US Border||
Canadian Border to US
|Mel Gerling(2)||14 dogs seized||
|September 28, 2010|
|Damara Jaye English(2)||14 dogs seized||
|September 28, 2010||Lower Mainland, Canada|
|Patrick English(2)||14 dogs seized||
|September 28, 2010||Lower Mainland, Canada|
|Type of Crime||Other Crimes||#/Type of animal(s) involved||Case Status||Next Court Date /Courthouse|
(2)14 dogs - shih tzus, chihuahuas, pugs and terrier crosses
|Abbotsford Provincial Court|
Charges of animal cruelty are pending following the seizure of 14 "badly neglected" dogs from a suspected puppy mill in Abbotsford.
"They were living in substandard conditions and this is not an isolated case," Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA, said Monday.
"This person had been told again, and again, and again, that he's not up to . . . even the minimal standards."
Moriarty said the seizure highlights the need for better municipal legislation to stop the sale of puppy-mill dogs. She said the dogs were suffering from a range of untreated health issues such as ulcerated eyes, dental disease and badly overgrown nails.
The owner of the seized animals also breeds dogs in various locations in the Fraser Valley, including Chilliwack and Maple Ridge.
Update 5/9/11: A man who had 14 dogs seized in Abbotsford by the SPCA last September has now been formally charged with the mistreatment of his animals.
Mel Gerling made his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court, with co-accused Damara English and Patrick English, his former business partners.
(Photo courtesy of Maple Ridge News)
The three have been charged under the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) with causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal, and under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act with causing an animal to continue to be in distress.
Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations with the BC SPCA, said the agency is “very pleased” that Crown counsel approved charges under both acts.
“This is a long-standing case. We’ve received numerous complaints over the years about animals in this person’s custody,” she said.
A conviction under the CCC charge is subject up to 18 months in prison, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Moriarty said the SPCA would “absolutely” want to see the maximum penalties in this case, given its duration, the number of dogs involved and the fact the dogs were bred for profit.
She said the 14 dogs – shih tzus, chihuahuas, pugs and terrier crosses – were spayed or neutered once they were taken by the SPCA, and all have been adopted out.
The SPCA seized the animals from an Abbotsford property after what they say were repeated complaints about Gerling, a breeder who operated Mountain View Kennels and Puppy Paradise.
They alleged that he was running a puppy mill – an operation that breeds dogs at high volume, placing profit before animal welfare.
The agency said the animals were kept outdoors in two shelters that did not offer proper protection from the elements and suffered from a range of health issues, including badly matted fur, eye infections, dental disease and badly overgrown nails.
Some of them also had luxating patella's – a hereditary condition in which the kneecap moves out of place.
At the time, Gerling blamed the dogs’ condition on the man whom he said he was paying to care for them while two new kennel buildings were being constructed in Maple Ridge.
He said the man did not groom the dogs, and Gerling was making arrangements to have the animals moved to another location, but the SPCA showed up before he had an opportunity to do so.
Gerling stated that he had retired and sold his business to his partners Pat and Damara English, who renamed it Luna Kennels.
Update 5/10/11: Three B.C. residents are facing criminal charges for allegedly running a puppy mill, but according to court documents the SPCA has been investigating the operation for several years.
Mel Gerling, Damara Jaye English and Patrick English, of the Lower Mainland, are each facing a Criminal Code charge of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal. They have also been charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act with causing an animal to be in distress.
This is not the first time that Gerling has been investigated by the SPCA, according to information contained in search warrant that was obtained by CBC News.
(Photo courtesy of CBC News)
His breeding operations in Chilliwack and Maple Ridge have been under investigation by the B.C. SPCA since 2006.
According to the search warrant, two previous employees of his store approached the SPCA in 2009 with a cooler bag full of dead dogs and puppies, claiming some were alive when they were placed in a freezer at his Chilliwack breeding operation.
An investigation followed, leading to the seizure of some animals, but no charges were laid.
"This is a puppy mill, if you define a puppy mill where animals are bred repetitively for profit with little to no regard to their health or well-being and that's what happened in this case," said Moriarty
"This is the reason why we say you need to know where your animals come from if you're going to be buying them from a pet store."
In July 2010, Canada Customs stopped Gerling at the U.S. border for transporting 44 puppies in cages the SPCA claims were overcrowded, poorly ventilated, and without proper food or water.
|Maple Ridge News||CBC News|