Public discontent over alleged puppy mill Top Dog Kennel has registered on the Tulare County Board of Supervisor’s (TCBOS) radar.
Supervisor Amy Shuklian said she has read the complaints concerning Ron Abbott’s Top Dog Kennel and hopes to address the residents’ concerns through the Tulare County Animal Services (TCAS) Advisory Committee.
Shuklian is the county representative on the committee that formed over two years ago to improve how the county treats its strays and to improve the lives of animals enclosed in kennels.
Critics of Top Dog Kennel have given firsthand testimonies of abuse, over breeding, unsanitary conditions and animal cruelty. They say the dogs are relegated to a life of outdoor small enclosures, enduring the heat in the summer and mud in the winter.
Abbott has contested these accusations, saying he only breeds his dogs once a year starting when they are 18 months and ending around five to six years, old depending on the breed. He also contends they get daily exercise.
TCAS has conducted several inspections of Abbott’s kennel and have found the facility is within code and is not breaking any laws.
In response to complaints that started five years ago, TCAS advisory committee is currently revising county ordinances to reduce the number of animals allowed in kennels, limit the number of times a dog can be bred and increase the amount of exercise allowed.
Patrick Hamblin, Director of TCAS, says that the new ordinances might affect Abbott’s ability to comply in the future.
Shuklian said that it is her hope that the new ordinances can be finished within six months.
The community is invited to participate in updating kennel ordinances by attending the TCAS advisory Committee meeting. The next meeting is August 9 at 1pm in the Resource Management Agency Conference room located at Government Plaza right across the street from Mooney Grove Park, 5961 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of 19 members from the community with different backgrounds in animal welfare. Their responsibilities include, besides rewriting the Kennel ordinance, developing and recommending methods to promote adoption of shelter animals.
Kennels are not against the law
The fact that Abbott’s kennels are within the law has not appeased the community.
Dan wrote in response to a Valley Voice article in the July 19 issue concerning Top Dog Kennel, “It is sad that we need regulations to tell us that abusing dogs is wrong. It’s too bad that a minister (Ron Abbott) sees these animals as “cash cows” and over breeds and abuses them. It’s too bad that he doesn’t just do the right thing and instead skates the line and does the minimum. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.”
According to breedingbusiness.com, “Dog breeders get a bad reputation, mainly due to a minority using low standards and bad practices in their kennels. The first mission of responsible dog breeding is to breed few individual dogs in order to improve the breed as a whole. In other words, a breeder’s litter should always be a well thought out improvement on its previous generation.”
Lucky Lab Rescue founder wrote in one of her testimonies concerning the Top Dog Kennel, “Reputable dog breeders perpetuate the breed of dogs they are passionate about for the betterment and longevity of that breed. These breeders know the history of a dog’s lineage and health issues of that lineage……. They only breed a certain amount of times during the lifetime of a female. The health of the mama dog and pups are of the utmost importance. They care about the mental aspects of the dogs’ well being as well as the physical. Which means they are raised, from the time they are born, as if they were a part of their own family including teaching them potty training and socialization.”
California Passes Historic Puppy Mill Law
Starting January 1, 2019, California pet stores will no longer be able to sell puppies from kennels. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act makes California the first state in the nation to ban the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across the state.
The SPCA says the federal government has continuously failed to protect dogs in puppy mills and that the puppy mill ban means that dogs will be treated like pets rather than a commodity.
“Pets aren’t appliances. They are living, breathing, loving animals who deserve as much loyalty and compassion as they give. This is why we fight so hard to stop the cruel puppy-making factories that create “inventory” for pet stores at an incredibly inhumane cost,” said the SPCA.
Shuklian agrees with the new puppy mill ban. While on the Visalia City Council she said she looked into implementing a similar ban but found that Pet Smart and Petco already abided by it and only offer rescue dogs and cats for sale. The only pet store that sold puppies was in the Visalia mall and closed years ago after a fire gutted the business.
Referring to Top Dog Kennel, Shuklian doesn’t think it serves the public good to have a kennel with so many dogs and offer so many breeds. “With all the homeless dogs we have it’s not necessary to buy from a breeder.
“I currently have two shelter dogs and they are perfect.”