Sheriff’s Deputies Return Some Dogs to Wyoming Kennel

By Spencer Willems, Reporter

Sonjia Brandley, 40, volunteers to help return 48 dogs to the Thunder Ridge Kennel Thursday night, 10 days after authorities confiscated 65 animals from the compound. Owner, Harold Buzz Powell, will have to wait until Tuesday, March 30 to find out the fate of the 17 dogs still being held by Jones County. (Spencer Willems/The Gazette)

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By KCRG Intern

WYOMING — After watching authorities return 48 dogs to his kennel, Harold Buzz Powell said Thursday that he looks forward to having the rest back so he can get back to business as usual.

Powell, owner of Thunder Ridge Kennel, watched Jones County Sheriff’s deputies confiscate 65 dogs on March 15, after the office received multiple complaints that Powell’s dogs were being neglected and that his business was a puppy mill.

On Thursday night, Powell watched as animal rescue advocates helped authorities return most of the animals that had been taken during a raid that began in the afternoon and lasted until midnight.

“My dogs are my life,” Powell said. “I bend over backwards for them but these people seem to think I run a puppy mill.”

The Jones County Attorney, Phil Parsons, released the 48 dogs after multiple veterinarians said they were okay to return. Sheriff Mark Dennison said the other 15 are still being considered neglected or endangered, and that they’ll be held by the county until Powell appears in court on Tuesday.

Two puppies are being held so that they can stay with their mothers.

“These dogs were deemed to be in worse shape,” Dennison said. “The county attorney decided to return dogs we couldn’t use in the event of a criminal prosecution.”

Animal advocates claimed that many of the dogs suffered from various illnesses, as well as dehydration. Powell said that some of the sick dogs were ones he’d purchased recently from other shelters, and that any dog would be dehydrated after sitting in a sheriff’s vehicle for eight hours.

Federal inspectors used to be the only ones with oversight of the dog breeding industry. That changed because of legislation recently signed by Gov. Chet Culver. Now, state inspectors are allowed to investigate dog kennels like the one Powell runs.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, Powell failed to comply with federal inspectors twice last year and once again on Jan. 12. David Sacks, a USDA spokesman, said that such a failure is considered a serious offense.

Either way, Powell says he welcomes any oversight.

“I told the (Jones County) sheriffs they could come whenever they want,” Powell said. “I have nothing to hide.”

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