Investigators Search Dog Breeding Kennel for Signs of Neglect
By Claire Kellett, Anchor/Reporter
JONES COUNTY - Animal rescue groups gave the Jones County Sheriff's Office enough information to search a local breeding kennel for several hours Monday. They are investigating claims the Thunder Ridge Dog Kennel mistreats its animals.
The kennel's owner says that's simply not true. He claims animal rights groups are targeting him.
Investigators continued searching the kennel into the night on Highway 64 in Jones County, just west of Wyoming.
The Jones County Chief Deputy said they have gotten a number of calls to check on this kennel, but their animal welfare checks never resulted in charges. This time a formal, written complaint led to a nearly six hour search warrant.
As a veterinarian examined about 100 dogs at this Jones County kennel, animal rescue groups waited outside to check for signs of neglect or abuse.
One group says some of the dogs are dehydrated and have tooth problems and skin conditions.
"You can see it in my face, it's breaking me up to be here doing this and it's not because I'm psycho or crazy, it's because we love animals," said Sonia Brandley of Last Hope Animal Rescue Group.
Harold Buzz Powell owns this USDA-licensed kennel. He says he has been breeding dogs for 13 years and has never received a citation from the federal government. He says the rescue groups are unfairly targeting him.
"They think that every kennel is a puppy mill. Not all kennels are puppy mills. We strive to keep our kennel clean and are dogs are well taken care of," said dog breeder Harold Buzz Powell.
Powell says two of the four types of dogs he breeds are known to have skin conditions. And that some of the dogs need minor dental work.
Despite his arguing, officials let rescue groups take more than 30 dogs to another location, while authorities decide whether to file charges.
"We may have to give them back if the court deems that, and all that cost falls on the rescue group."
Powell says this operation is a waste of money because he believes he will get all of his dogs back. "The dogs will be returned because there is no neglect, the dogs are well fed, well taken care of and well groomed," said Powell.
The chief deputy said they will look over the veterinarian's report and then county attorney will then decide whether to file charges.
Since this is a USDA-licensed kennel, a representative from the federal government was also there Monday.