Updated Tulare County kennel ordinances discussed

A new draft ordinance document was distributed and discussed at the Tulare County Animal Services (TCAS) Advisory Committee meeting on August 9.

The goal of the advisory committee is to update the county’s regulations concerning domestic animals and protect them within the unincorporated area of Tulare County. Copies of the draft ordinances and new standards can be downloaded from the TCAS website, www.tcanimalservices.org

Patrick Hamblin, Director of TCAS, invited concerned citizens to email their feedback and suggest changes.

“We will be accepting comments and recommendations from the community beginning now through September 28 at [email protected].”

Community outreach meetings will be held in September and TCAS is hoping to present a final draft of the ordinances to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors (BOS) at its first meeting in October. With the BOS’ approval the ordinances will be ready to enforce in January of 2019.

During public comment attendees spoke both in favor and against the operations at Top Dog Kennel, the subject of recent community concern. Tulare County Supervisor Amy Shuklian pointed out that there are 12 commercial kennels in the county and that Top Dog is not the only one for which the new ordinances will apply.

Elle Blankenship read a statement from Petra House who runs a Labrador rescue out of Fresno. House said that she has no problem with responsible breeders, but Ron Abbott’s Top Dog Kennel is not a commercial business but a puppy mill.

House said that she understands that the county cannot shut Top Dog Kennel down but, considering how over-burdened the Central Valley is with rescue dogs, believes the county should make such large operations not cost effective through tough regulations.

Jeanne Kirkland didn’t like the fact that Abbott raised dogs specifically for profit and allegedly maximizes production over the health of the animals. “The county should have a zero tolerance for puppy mills,” she said, “and remove the profit element.”

Amy Lockwood said that she has experience with puppy mills and that she can’t believe that the county doesn’t already have rules in place to handle a business such as Abbott’s.

The last commenter said that her cousin went to Top Dog Kennel and said the facility was filthy and that “the dogs were jammed into cage after cage after cage.”

Leroy Green, who owns a kennel in Fresno, spoke not only in defense of Top Dog Kennel but in defense of Abbott’s character.

“I have known Ron Abbott for approximately five years.  I have found him to be a spiritual man, a man of integrity and humility.  We both enjoy breeding and training bird dogs and German shepherd dogs.  In the breeding and training of dogs a person’s word is one of the most important aspects of the business. Ron exemplifies this quality.  His employees have the highest respect for him.  He leads by example,” said Green.

Green continued, “Having been a Fresno Police Department Chaplain for 2 years I have seen all walks of life, as you can well imagine, Ron and his operation are a perfect 10 on a scale of 1 thru 10.”

Abbott attended the meeting and introduced himself, saying he was available to the committee if they had any questions. Time had run out so he did not get a chance to speak during public comment but said in an email:

“Amy Shuklian, Board of Supervisors, came to my home, we visited about 30 minutes, then she and her assistant, took a tour of my Kennels!  Their comments were that they were surprised, in a good way, with the space, and condition of my facility.

“As to the Advisory Meeting, I just wanted to be available to any serious members!  The comments about, animals in cages, by some, is so far from truth, it’s embarrassing for their ignorance!”

Draft ordinances and Commercial Kennel Minimum Standards

After public comment Hamblin distributed the draft of the ordinances and a draft of the kennel minimum standards. He said that the documents have been in the works for over two years and the committee took recommendations from the SPCA and other states and counties on such issues as recommended measurements for enclosures, hours of exercise, and number of allowed animals. He said the committee relied heavily on San Luis Obispo’s ordinances as they were a good fit for Tulare County.

Hamblin pointed out a few highlights of the new ordinances, such as the new breeder’s permit, section on violations, and that all sales of animals will be banned at swap meets. There will also be mandatory micro-chipping for every dog.

The biggest change in the ordinances that will affect Abbott’s business is the maximum of 25 adult dogs. An adult dog is four months old. Abbott has struggled to keep within the former restriction of a maximum of 45 dogs and has been cited by the county for being over that number.

According to former employees, Abbott has an especially difficult time staying under 45 dogs after the births of multiple litters that have not sold and have reached four months old.

Abbott’s Satisfied Customers Speak out

Abbott stated that for every unsatisfied customer he has hundreds of happy customers. At his request many of his satisfied customers emailed the Valley Voice to give their first person testimonies. All of the customers profiled in this article said they did not attend Abbott’s church nor were they members of his family.

Jeff Krikorian from Bakersfield said:

My wife and I had the most pleasant time during our time of buying our Labradoodle  At Top Dog. Ron and his staff were wonderful to work with from the beginning of our first conversation to   the final purchase . The kennels are a four star facility as far as we could see and we received  a tour of the entire Kennel. The dogs are beautiful and precious and you could eat off the floors.  Ron has called my wife and myself several times to  check on our Molly to see how  she is doing. That is first class customer service. So without being rude to the people writing these negative post. You are liars, and you are activists , and that is what you do.”

Crystal Bubeck wrote to Abbott:

“Our BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL just turned 3 years. Our Sierra is absolutely the BEST dog ever. I got her for my husband birthday from Ronald Abbott, and its definitely my husband’s best friend and bestest friend to our son.

 Mr. Rob Abbott, everything you said about her temperament and natural beauty and EXCELLENCE health, and the back round of our new pup was great. And it NEVER ONCE LEFT my husband and I, EVER questioning our decision to bring her to her FUR-EVER  home. We have had a blessed and beautiful time so far with our Sierra.”

Victor Molano wrote:

“Ron recently lost one of his studs that he has loved and spent many hours and money to care and keep alive. I’ve seen the devastation it caused him to lose a dog he loves so much. I have seen the love and nurture he gives to his dogs of all ages and breeds. I would highly recommend and reference Ronald Abbott to anyone as a qualified breeder who loves and gives a good life to the purebred dogs he has raised.”

Linda Schimizzi from Mission Viejo said:

“We were pleased to see that the dogs and puppies were kept in large dog runs instead of tiny cages.  Also there is a huge enclosed area where the puppies get to romp and play with each other but not roaming out in the open.  This area was very clean and afforded the puppies lots of room to run and chase each other………We are very happy that we found a breeder like Mr. Abbott who obviously cares about the health and overall well being of his dogs/puppies.  Top Dog Enterprises is NOT a puppy mill.”

Timothy and Mary Hollabaugh from Nevada said:

“We purchased our dear little puppy Roxy from Ron Abbott’s Top Dog Kennels in June of 2017. We were specifically looking for Yorkshire terriers and Roxy fit the bill perfectly. We selected the Top Dog Kennels for our purchase because we knew from past experience that the Abbotts Kennel treated each animal with the utmost of care and love. Roxy displayed all the characteristics of an animal that was properly loved and nurtured. When we picked her up she was freshly bathed and combed. While we were there we also saw many other animals. Each looked to be in great health and good spirits.”

The following couple did want their name in the paper out of fear of retaliation from “animal activists.”

“………you can imagine the surprise and shock it was to find Mr. Abbotts name associated with a ‘puppy mill’. I knew there must have been a mistake this could not be the same breeder we know.

“………As a family, we took our 3 children out to visit his farm and see the puppies. When we arrived my husband and I were very impressed with his farm and the animals that resided on it. Growing up on a working farm of 5 acres, I know firsthand of the amount of work that it takes to keep a farm in such an impressive state of cleanliness. I first noticed there was no odor, as we walked around his farm showing our kids the all the different animals waiting our turn to meet the puppies. All the kennels were very clean, animals were placed appropriately, and his staff were very attentive to them. We were able to see firsthand that the animals on his farm were well taken care of.

“We visited Mr. Abbotts farm on three separate occasions, and always found the farm in its usual impressive state.

“(We) are very offended that Mr. Abbotts name, and business is being portrayed in this manner. It is wrong to have this done to someone, and have it advertised when it is false. Especially when more than likely those making accusations have not personally have been on his farm, or possibly used false information to do so. ……. Damage has been done, I hope you will consider helping Mr. Abbott and print true information from people who have experience with him.”

11 thoughts on “Updated Tulare County kennel ordinances discussed

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  1. Those of you that think it’s ok that a dog lives in a kennel their whole life .. go put your’s in his kennel for just one year! Let alone 10!! Go go ahead go let him take care of your dogs!

  2. Thank you Patrick Hamblin and the Advisory Committee for putting together the new minimum standards for commercial kennels and revised ordinances.
    Despite the “happy customers” dogs deserve better than what they get pumping out pups for Mr. Abbott’s personal gain.

  3. Because the people in this county have higher standards than the state apparently… And as far as paying for it… that’d be tax payers… now those who cleverly find ways of avoiding the tax man obviously avoid paying for it… not naming anyone in particular of course.

  4. He cleans them up and makes it look really good when he knows someone coming to check I’ve known people that work for him and he says to do that so that he can pass his stuff and you guys won’t bother him he is a puppy mill this is ridiculous he needs to be shut down and yes he is a preacher who has robbed his own church so guess what I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him

  5. ” All of the customers profiled in this article said they did not attend Abbott’s church nor were they members of his family.”
    That’s interesting because I know for a fact that most of the “happy customers” are family friends and accointances of Abbott’s family.

  6. I have personally had experience with Ron and had no idea I was buying from a puppy mill however after spending 700.00 for my chocolate lab she was sick the next day after contacting Ron he admitted that his whole litter was sick with kennel cough and after numerous visits to the vet she was placed on antibiotics and at 10 months old was diagnosed with hip dysplasia when trying to contact Ron and leaving several messages the so called preacher would not return my call!! My dog is now 3 yrs old and I love her very much but after spending 7,000 on vet bills he can’t even return my call a real Piece of shit!!! Which I also have several text messages I will post for any of you who think he is so wonderful !! Not to mention since my last post several people whom have reached out to me in messenger have told me he is a crook with his church

  7. Ummm screw you Dave if your such a Ron fan maybe you ought to reimburse us for all our expenses since he doesn’t return our calls!!!

  8. Dave… obviously they’ve reported it to the authorities and been told that he’s within code which shocked and appalled them so they sought to have the ordinances changed to better match how they feel pets/animals should be treated. Basically they followed the steps that are in place to handle these types of situations. Bottom line is dogs shouldn’t be bred every heat, there should be a limit on how many dogs a person can have, they should have adequate shelter that keeps them dry and out of extreme heat. These are a few of the recommendations… I don’t see anything wrong with this. Why are you so displeased with the people who want the minimum standards raised? does raising the standards affect you? I know you’re concerned about the cost because you’re a taxpayer but having the authorities go and investigate someone and not being able to fine them because the standards don’t allow it costs more than having them investigate and being able to fine them. Plus I’m pretty sure Mr. Abbott doesn’t pay his fair share of taxes anyway… so if you’re really concerned about who’s footing the bill I’d be more concerned about who isn’t.

  9. And just why should the county enforce a higher standard? Again, who pays the bill? This is especially true since this does appear to be a vendetta against one place of business lead by two or three angry complainers.

  10. Because the citizens demand higher standards. Take Mr. Abbott out of it. If the standards allow a dog to be over bred (bred every heat) and left out in 110 degree weather in a small cage on the dirt, mud, and feces… They need to be changed. If I saw someone that had 40+ dogs in cages all outside in the dead of summer in the valley with feces all over I’d expect it to be illegal. The fact that it isn’t needs to be changed. Don’t you think dogs deserve better? or would you treat your dogs this way?

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