Alarming Pattern of Animal Welfare Violations at Cass Township Puppy Mill Leads PETA to Seek Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
November 27, 2023

Contact:
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Shelby, Ohio – Damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports just obtained by PETA reveal that a Cass Township breeding facility operated by John Garman has been cited again for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act—this time related to depriving a dog of veterinary care—marking at least the 11th violation at the puppy mill since 2014. Despite this pattern of repeated violations, the USDA hasn’t rescued any animals from the operation that confines approximately 170 dogs or sought any penalties against Garman, so PETA rushed a letter to City of Shelby Director of Law Gordon Eyster urging him to have a veterinarian visit the facility with investigators and file appropriate charges against those responsible for the latest neglect.

According to the report, on October 18 a USDA veterinarian found a dog who hadn’t received veterinary care for “severe dental disease” with a “heavy buildup of thick brown material” covering most of his teeth, swollen and receded gums, and “discharge” near some of his incisors. In August, the veterinarian found that Garman wasn’t following a veterinary care program. That report also states that enclosures weren’t being cleaned properly and that 21 dogs were housed in enclosures with black and brown material on the walls and doors. Previous violations include a 2019 incident in which an inspector documented that a puppy was “unable to walk properly” and had been left to drag her back legs. Garman reportedly had noticed this but hadn’t sought treatment for her. Similarly, in 2014 an inspector found a dog with a laceration near her eye for which Garman hadn’t sought veterinary treatment.

“Miserable mills like this one deny dogs proper care and treat them as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is urging Shelby authorities to prosecute those responsible for this neglect and calls on everyone to avoid buying animals from breeders or pet stores, which keep operations like this one in business, and to adopt from shelters instead.”

PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and, as Garman’s history of violations shows, these infractions carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Eyster follows.

November 27, 2023

The Honorable Gordon Eyster

Director of Law

City of Shelby

Dear Mr. Eyster:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting an ill dog at a breeding kennel operated by John Garman and located at 3136 Opdyke Rd. in Cass Township. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in canine health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the approximately 170 dogs there.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff have documented persistent neglect at the kennel in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On October 18, a USDA veterinarian found that a dog in Garman’s custody had “severe dental disease” with a “heavy buildup of thick brown material” on “most” of his teeth, swollen and receded gums, and “discharge” near some of his incisors. Garman had evidently not sought veterinary care for the condition. This neglect appears to violate Ohio’s prohibition against cruelty to companion animals, Ohio Revised Code § 959.131(D)(1).

In addition, beyond the statute of limitations for this offense, in April 2019, a USDA inspector found a puppy who was “unable to walk properly” and had been left to “drag [her] back legs” on the property. According to that report, Garman had seen the puppy’s condition but hadn’t sought veterinary treatment for her. In September 2014, USDA staff found that Garman hadn’t sought veterinary care for a dog with a laceration near her left eye. Finally, please note that in August, 21 dogs were found confined to enclosures “soiled with brown and/or black material.”

The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and these reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for neglecting animals. If you’d like to learn more about the agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

PETA

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