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Judges Charged With Animal Cruelty


Over 20 Animal cruelty charges were filed against AKC judges, Jim Deppen and Mimi Winkler, who operate Judges Choice of Ironwood Kennels in Lehigh County PA.


June 2010

Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Editor-In-Chief


Miriam J. Winkler is 71 years old and operates the kennel with 46-year-old James Robert Deppen. Mimi is AKC approved for Bichons and is apparently judging the National this year. Jim Deppen is approved for several Working breeds and Shar Pei, and he’s provisional for nearly a dozen more Non-Sporting breeds. He grooms in nearby NJ during the week.


Pennsylvania State Police filed 23 animal cruelty citations against Deppen and Winkler. That’s a big story but the reports bring up more questions than they answer. There was an announced inspection in April by dog wardens listed as Orlando Aguirre, Diane Buhl and Kathy Andrews.


Newspapers reported there were 18 Bichons "living in unsanitary conditions” with “heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors on some of the dogs that were untreated” but after examination of the citations we were unable to discern any reference to conditions or tumors. The more than forty citations consistently noted the dogs “incurred substantial veterinary & grooming care & bills”.


Perhaps the vet discovered “open tumors” along with the “whip, hook & roundworms” in the Border Collie that “tested high for Lyme Disease after veterinary care provided by PA dog warden, upon reimbursement.” If you are following Dr. Jordan’s Vaccine series, you will read that sentence again.


One might wonder how an expected inspection could reveal dogs so desperately in need of veterinary care which was ordered less than a month previous to the return inspection. That would indicate grievous disregard for both the laws of PA and the dogs themselves.


One of the citations stated that they “conspired” and “agreed to engage in conduct constituting cruelty by failing to provide adequate veterinary care causing (illegible) to 22 dogs.”


What we don’t yet know is; were some of the dogs crated? Would same-day feces in an outside run constitute unsanitary conditions? Which dog (s) had open tumors? Had they been seen by a vet? What was the age of the “sick” dogs?


And what are the circumstances surrounding the death of the Neapolitan Mastiffs, one of which was noted as having “severe skin and foot conditions” and one had a “chronic eye condition”. They were ordered to receive veterinary care but one report says police said “the wardens returned June 7 to find ‘two of the Neapolitan mastiffs were deceased, one of which was disposed of outside of the kennel in a wheelbarrow.’” So far we are unable to find reference to the cause of death.


Deppen and Winkler relinquished all the dogs to animal control dog wardens but police filed 22 citations for animal cruelty. Each citation carries a penalty of up to 90 days in prison or a fine between $50 and $750. The case is before District Judge Rod Beck.


The 44 or more citations show a charge of $23.50 each but even if they “pled out” by having turned the dogs over to officials, they could still face jail time and be liable for fines and vet bills estimated to be thousands of dollars.


Police said Winkler and Deppen plan to close the kennel. If there are no dogs left on premises, they have no choice even though they may co-own dogs elsewhere. That seems more than sad, it represents loss of a lifetime breeding program for Mimi Winkler and is no doubt a terrible loss for Jim Deppen.


None of our subscribers would ever tolerate animal cruelty, including medical neglect. Grooming? Coated dogs can matt quickly and easily and we have no way of knowing how badly matted the Bichons actually were. People who know Mimi, including a former handler, were shocked at this news. A judge friend said “that doesn’t sound like Mimi and her kennels and home were always lovely.


No one has been able to reach Mimi Winkler or Jim Deppen. We would like to talk to them. The Neos were his breed and to the average person, any Neapolitan Mastiff might appear to have eye or skin problems. Why did they die?


We have covered several stories wherein dog owners, even bird owners were coerced{1} into giving their animals to authorities. In one case of which I am personally aware, healthy show quality purebred dogs were confiscated under abuse charges but then “adopted out” within 72 hours after they were shown that evening on local television. Adoption fees were equal to pet prices for the dogs.


In another case 20/20 Undercover and John Stossel revealed SPCA Steals Valuable animals{2}. Arabian horses were confiscated for lack of care and then taken immediately to auction.


Editor's Note: We believe these respected judges to be unfairly accused.  But prepare to be shocked by one of the most horrific abuse stories on record.  A highly favored AKC Breeder/Handler, supposedly AKC inspected as a known puppy mill.  Michael Wolf may have been the catalyst for unfair and illegal animal seizures by radical animal rights / Animal Control Officers in Pennsylvania.  Read The Big Bad Wolf{3}


Referenced Information, dig for gold below

{1} SPCA Confiscates Birds     {2} 20/20 SPCA Steals Dogs     {3} Big Bad Wolf - Mike-Mar Puppy Mill


Related Legal Information ~ Attorney On Animal Control

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