Adhering To The Highest Journalistic Standards
BIG BAD WOLF!
Michael Wolf & Gordon Trottier, Mike-Mar Puppy Mill - BUSTED!!
03|10|06 | TheDogPress.com
Introduction by AKC Judge Margaret (Peggy) Mickelson
"Many of us will recognize the name of Michael Wolf, a very controversial fellow who has, in the past, shown Best in Show Pekes, Bostons, and Pugs. When Cavaliers were first recognized by the AKC, Michael set about getting a few for himself... unfortunately, in spite of many warnings, he was able to do so. Some are even in show homes...
"Michael Wolf, top AKC handler arrested, over 300 abused dogs rescued. AKC inspected, approved Mike-Mar puppy mill arrest results in only 6 months suspension! AKC Chairman defends policy, says they didn't know about the all those Cavaliers, Papillions, Bulldogs, Bostons, Pekingese. ...
"'This man has managed to be in deep trouble regarding dogs so many times I couldn't count them... ' the late Nigel Aubrey Jones told me some horrid stories about the numbers of Pekes Michael had (and the number he put down from time to time)...in any case, even when he was sued for dog theft and found guilty in a court of law in New Jersey, the AKC would never suspend him.
"Over a year ago, however, the AKC finally pulled registrations on some of his Cavaliers...who knows what other breeds were affected at the time. Now, finally, although it breaks my heart to hear the story, I think, and deeply hope, he's going to be out of business at last... and the AKC will be forced to suspend him for life when (notice, I don't say IF) he's found guilty of these charges.
"I'm sharing it, not because it's heartbreaking, but because this man, who some of us know, and others will have heard of, showed some TOP WINNING DOGS in his day--- there's a lesson here, folks! Just because somebody won something once (or won a lot, even) doesn't make them worth selling one of your dogs to!" ~ Peggy Mickelson
Biting The Hand That Feeds You!
The sport has been very good to Michael Wolf. He's been blessed with wealthy clients, including the highly respected AKC Delegate - Pekingese client who surely never went to his facilities. What Wolf and Trotter did to those dogs is more gruesome than the worst illustration we could come up with.
Marcella Peyre-Ferry, Daily Local News, reports "SPCA workers confiscated over 300 dogs on Friday."
"At first, the tally looked like it was going to be 135. Then we found another building. We had to get a second warrant," said SPCA spokesman Chuck McDevitt.
15 marked and unmarked state police cars roared to the site in the 1700 block of Old Baltimore Pike. "We had a uniformed officer here assisting the SPCA," said Trooper Corey Monthei. "A resident or someone decided to become combative with our trooper." According to Monthei, two unnamed people were taken into custody and removed from the premises.
State Revoked Wolf's Puppy Mill License
The SPCA became aware of a problem when someone who had visited the site to buy a puppy lodged a complaint about unsanitary conditions. An investigator responded on Wednesday and one dog was taken into SPCA care. The next step was to obtain a search warrant. The dogs "were not being cleaned up after." When asked if the property was a puppy mill, McDevitt said it could be called that. "Different people have different names for that," he said. "It's very common in Lancaster County. Wolf is well known in Pekes, Bostons, Pugs, Cavaliers, Bulldogs, Papillions"
There had been complaints to the SPCA about Wolf in 2001, which were resolved. According to McDevitt, Wolf's kennel license was revoked by the state. The Township secretary Ruth Libby said she was unaware of any recent complaints about the property, but she also didn't know that the kennel license had been revoked. Though there were several breeds of dogs on the property, the largest numbers were Cavalier King Charles spaniels and English bulldogs. Wolf has shown other toy breeds such as Papillions and Pekingese.
337 Toy Breed Dogs Rescued From AKC Breeder
Neighbors had no idea there were a lot of dogs there. One man said "once in a while you'd get a whiff...." No signs proclaim the property as a kennel. Bamboo, brush, and chain link kept buildings out of view. As the rescuers drew closer to the building, the smell was stronger, even in the cold winter air. Workers had to wear protective clothing and shoe covers that were quickly coated in waste, and sometimes had to cover their mouths and noses with masks. SPCA had to rent two vans to transport the dogs.
If Wolf does not agree to surrender the animals to the SPCA, the case will go to court. Not until the case is resolved will any of the animals be available for adoption, and then only those that are physically and temperamentally suitable. "It's going to be a struggle," McDevitt said. One can assume the puppy mill did not surrender the dogs as there was indeed a court proceeding covered in Big Bad Wolf - Part 3.
According to the Daily Local News, the breeds rescued were primarily Cavalier King Charles, Papillons, and "English" Bulldogs and 337 dogs were taken, the most ever handled by Chester County SPCA's inception in 1929.
The SPCA said although it involves criminal charges, "the guys will probably get off light. The charges amount to something like a traffic ticket although penalties can include a fine and forfeiture of the animals which are being held pending outcome of the case. Those animals in need of veterinary attention received care and none were euthanized."
AKC Chairman Suggests PAWS Would Have Prevented Wolf?
Chairman Ron Menaker says the seizure illustrates need for for more comprehensive legislation to protect pets. “This very sad case is an example of why we support the Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS),” said Menaker. “It is a case where the AKC, through its mandatory inspection program for high volume breeders, took action against a breeder who was found not to be in compliance with our regulations."
Menaker went on to say "after AKC disciplined him, he dramatically reduced the number of litters he registered with us and therefore was no longer subject to AKC inspection. However, although he had been disciplined by the AKC and, according to press reports his state license had been revoked, he continued to operate a sizeable breeding operation ‘under the radar’.”
One observer was stunned to learn that AKC knew about the puppy mill and did nothing but suspend Wolf for six months and let his partner continue on. "Six months!" she said, "that's no more than a bar brawl sentence and then business as usual."
When he learned "it finally happened" an AKC judge remarked "they (AKC) knew about him for a long time. Some get slapped and some people nothing. It seems to be based on who you are and who and what you know. That's the only logic in who gets by."
AKC Inspected (or not) High Volume Breeder?
According to AKC, prior to 2004, both Wolf and Trottier were designated as “high volume breeders” and "their dogs and facilities were inspected by the AKC in accordance with AKC policy. According to the most recent AKC inspection report, dated May 2004, Wolf claimed to have only 45 dogs and 8 puppies, which were determined to be maintained in acceptable conditions."
One reader summed it up. "Sure, they inspect and take the miller's word for how many dogs are there? So what I'm hearing is they don't even bother to look?" Fair comment. No explanation from AKC.
AKC Suspension For Faulty Record Keeping, Not Conditions
94 AKC litters in under two years adds up to a lot of registrations for AKC. not for cruelty or failure to care for the dogs, or alleged despicable business dealings. No, we are told Wolf was suspended on the basis of "routine DNA testing." which "indicated incorrect or faulty record keeping." We are unable to learn whether the test was the result of a complaint against Wolf. It has been suggested that the insignificant suspension which did nothing to stop the operation was a "mollifying cover-up" to satisfy a complaint.
According to AKC CEO Ron Menaker, "after his suspension, he only registered a nominal number of litters with the AKC, thereby avoiding the mandatory inspection for high volume breeders." This is a pattern we see all too often,” continued Menaker. “Breeders stop registering with us in order to avoid inspection after we take disciplinary action against them. Unfortunately, however, many of these people continue breeding and selling dogs, and register them with a for-profit registry that has no inspection requirements to monitor care and conditions standards.”
"Sounds like sour grapes or knocking the competition" said a well known UKC exhibitor. She continued "why doesn't someone just call the other registries and see how many dogs Wolf registered with them? It wouldn't matter because he could still register those dogs with AKC after he was back in good graces. That is just a sham."
Mandatory kennel inspection of "high volume breeders" began in 1991. Menaker noted that "since this time, approximately 2,000 high volume breeders have stopped registering with the AKC." He said that today, more than 20 for-profit registries exist in the United States, many of which were created to accommodate the very breeders who had abandoned AKC registration and its inspection standards and requirements.
An Akita breeder scoffed at Mr. Menaker's statement. "That's a crock, I don't think it had to do with inspections, that is about when AKC finally began to do DNA and a lot of the puppy mills did revolt." He laughed "but with the three to five year turn-over in dogs, losing 2,000 breeders in fifteen years sounds very low to me. I would say AKC averaged that many before it started the DNA thing. And most of the puppy mills still register with AKC because they can pay off the USDA inspectors. That's a known fact."
So Wolf and Trottier go to court and there's no suspense there. GUILTY!. But what was the sentence? What else did the AKC Chairman say about why we need the dreaded PAWS Legislation? (AKC chronically pimps for PAWS which would legalize what Michael Wolf does.)
Does the AKC Inspection program work? Ever? Why didn't AKC know Wolf's license was revoked? And did Wolf and Trottier get a lifetime suspension this time?
If you plan to stay in dogs and register in AKC, it's worth less than the cost of a puppy class entry fee to get the "rest of the story" - for Insiders only! NOTE: the Insider Dog is neither Retriever nor Hound so it takes him a minute to find your password.
Additional Wolf/Trotter Information:Wolf & Trotter GUILTY! Part 2 - AKC SPIN!!! Part 3
www.TheDogPress.com has been applauded for the publicity that finally got these two dog abusers convicted. Typically, we have also been smeared and reviled for running a story that put AKC in a bad light. No matter, the fact that publicity insuredWolf Finally Suspended (15 years to life) doesn't make hundreds upon hundreds of horribly abused dogs feel one bit safer.
You can help. We're hearing this a lot lately but it works - If you see something, say something. If you have documentation of ongoing animal cruelty send it to the editor along with a copy of complaint filed with AKC, animal control, or other appropriate agency.