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In hindsight, breeder regrets sale to Biden

What was initially a proud moment for Linda Brown turned sour not long after Joe Biden bought his new German shepherd puppy from her kennel in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Brown says the sale led to a visit every month from the state Department of Agriculture, death threats from animal rights activists, and loads of criticism.

“I thought when Joe Biden bought a puppy from me, what an honor,” Brown told the Chester County Daily Local News. “Out of millions of breeders in the country, in the world, he picked me.”

But as soon as the purchase was publicized, the criticism started — first of then vice president-elect Biden, for purchasing from a breeder, and for the Secret Service contingent that arrived at Brown’s Wolf Den Kennel with him; then of Brown, whose kennel was cited for record-keeping problems and warned about maintenance and sanitation shortfalls by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

“I was cited for a piece of kibble on the floor and five strands of dog hair. They took a picture of that, they walked around, snapped pictures and don’t tell you why,” said Brown.

According to Philly Dawg, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s dog blog, the violations found included dogs kept in outside pens with ice accumulation, broken fencing, shredded aluminum capping, and holes in pens large enough for a dog to escape. One large dog’s only shelter was an airline travel crate in which he could not stand erect.

Brown racked up five citations after December for numerous kennel violations and a slew of warnings for other problems including an “immediate grooming” order for a St. Bernard to “prevent the dog from harboring infectious and contagious disease.”

Brown was warned about the problems in a Jan. 5 inspection. When investigators returned to the kennel in Spring City in Jan. 22 they found conditions had not improved. They also found incomplete sales and health records, prompting three more citations —  one each for records, drainage and maintenance. Brown also received two citations in December – the same week that Biden purchased the six-week-old puppy.

According to Philly Dawg, Brown, who also operates as JoLindy’s German Shepherds, had 85 dogs on the property on Jan. 22 and reported 188 dogs sold in the past 12 months. She holds the largest state commercial kennel license that allows her to keep or sell an unlimited number of dogs. 

Brown’s case was heard by District Justice James DeAngelo in South Coventry on March 31. She was found “not guilty” for each citation, the judge’s office confirmed Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said Brown was inspected in December because of a complaint. He declined to release the name of the person who complained. He said the inspectors returned as a matter of follow-up to determine if the matters had been addressed

Brown’s kennel, Wolf Den, was inspected twice a year by the agency and had satisfactory reports until December 2008 when it was rated unsatisfactory in seven of 26 areas, according to the inspection records on the agency’s website.

Brown, who spent $4,000 on lawyers to fight the citations, says she doesn’t plan to sell any more dogs to high profile clients. “Never, never, never again,” she said.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time April 11, 2009 at 9:59 am

Enough, already!

If Joe Biden wanted a German Shepherd, it was his perfect right to have one, and it was this woman’s perfect right to sell him one. He chose a reputable breeder of healthy dogs as opposed to a puppy mill, and she did everything correctly in terms of keeping the pup with its mother for maximum benefit and socialization.

If people like this are harassed out of business, well, folks–the puppy mills will be all that’s left. It feels like a sort of reverse breed-specific discrimination.

Comment from Anonymous
Time November 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm

dog hoarder