Pulaski Co dog breeder Dennis Bradley told a local reporter with a hidden camera that he had 58 dogs on his property, at least a dozen of them under 8 weeks of age, in November 2013. The reporter from WAVE in Kentucky filmed dozens of dogs crammed into filthy, rusted wire cages from which they were obviously never removed. Among the breeds depicted in the video are Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers and Bloodhounds. The reporter asks him how much for a Schnauzer puppy and is told $300 for a female and $250 for a male. This certainly appears to be a dog breeding operation to my eyes, and a very poorly maintained one at that.
Bradley, when contacted by the Commonwealth Journal in November, insisted his kennel wasn’t a puppy mill, but a non-profit rescue organization.
A non-rescue would seem to be the more correct answer. Has anyone seen Dennis Bradley’s 501(c)3 documents for his so-called rescue organization? Perhaps they are on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.
The strangest aspect of the November story is that Dennis Bradley’s
rescue breeding facility had already been raided by the sheriff in January 2013, at which time he was charged with animal cruelty:
Video taken by the sheriffs department shows some of Bradley’s dogs sick and near death. Two were in such bad shape they had to be put to sleep.
So why is Bradley still in business? Animal rescue groups say shutting down a puppy mill can cost up to $70,000 in shelter, food and medical expenses for the dogs they remove. Sometimes, groups like the Animal Rescue Corps will pay the cost, as it did when it broke up an alleged puppy mill in Wayne County in September.
No group stepped in to help Pulaski County financially, and investigators decided taking all 70 dogs they found on Bradley’s property would overwhelm the shelter system. So they removed the dogs in the poorest conditions and asked animal control to make sure Bradley took better care of the animals left behind. [emphasis added]
“Upon arrival detectives discovered several dogs in pens/cages outside which were obviously sick. Several dogs suffered from having skin ailments and two appeared to be near death,” states the citation, filed by Det. Glen Bland. “Many of the dogs were living in poor conditions without proper shelter. Most pens were (too) small and were covered in mud and feces.”
Former Pulaski County Animal Shelter Director Darren Wesley would eventually remove 21 dogs from the property — some of which were euthanized after they tested positive for parvo.
After allowing dogs to languish in these conditions for another full year, authorities finally received assistance from the ASPCA and worked out a plea deal with the owner. Bradley pleaded guilty to one count of second degree animal cruelty. He received 24 months’ probation and surrendered all but 5 dogs, including one elderly dog. He will not be allowed to have more than 4 dogs or to re-start his breeding business during the probation period. Does this strike anyone as a good deal that protects dogs or does it look more like the appearance of justice, suitable for framing around a full color donation plea?
The ASPCA took 43 dogs to the KY Humane Society in Louisville on Tuesday.
It’s nice that the ASPCA finally used its vast resources to help these suffering dogs but with all those donated dollars in their bank account, couldn’t they have helped sooner? Even if they didn’t have a full team available to deploy any time within the past year, couldn’t they have sent one person and hired some local people to assist? Or at least thrown enough cash at the problem that the county could afford to provide the needed care itself? I notice once the ASPCA finally rolled into Pulaski Co, they moved super fast to get this plea for cash out to donors:
When a county sheriff raids a facility containing sick and dying dogs alongside newborn puppies, has video to document the inhumane conditions, provides sufficient evidence to get cruelty charges filed against the owner, but lacks the resources to help the dogs, this should be the kind of thing the multi-million dollar animal welfare groups get on yesterday – not one year later. Does it matter to anyone at the ASPCA that dozens of dogs were left living in horrible conditions in the care of someone charged with animal cruelty for an entire year for lack of resources? And then when they finally decide to show up, it’s all ASPCA logo jackets for the cameras and donation pleas and press releases – as if the ASPCA just busted this place this week. In truth, the cruelty charge stems from the work done by the local sheriff one year ago and the dogs needed help then.
I imagine we might end up seeing these Pulaski Co dogs in a TV commercial with a Sarah McLachlan song. If and when that happens, remember they were knowingly left to suffer in tiny cages in the care of someone charged with animal cruelty for an entire year while the ASPCA closed its checkbook to Pulaski Co and counted its money.
(Thanks Karen J. for the links.)