Pat Raia, [email protected]
The operator of a kennel in Brooksville is facing aggravated animal cruelty charges after law enforcement authorities seized eight sick puppies and discovered the remains of another 11 young dogs in garbage cans at the Golden Kennel on Weatherly Road.
Hernando County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Denise M. Moloney said that on March 2 as part of an ongoing investigation into the neglect and sale of sick puppies at the Golden Kennel, LLC 9203 Weatherly Road in Brooksville, personnel from Hernando, Pasco, and Hillsborough County animal services, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the University of Florida acted on an inspection warrant and discovered the remains of 11 puppies illegally disposed of in a garbage can, and one obviously sick puppy lying on the floor of the facility.
“During the investigation, Animal Enforcement Officer M. Rowe received information that several puppies had recently been sold from the kennel and within days of being sold, some of the puppies died of Canine parvovirus,” Moloney said.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs' gastrointestinal tracts. It is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact as well as contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people, and can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. While the condition can affect all dogs, unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk.
Also during the investigation, eight puppies were seized and sent to local veterinary facilities for treatment.
“Each of the puppies exhibited signs consistent with Canine parvovirus,” Moloney said.
Another 138 adult dogs and puppies were left on the property in the care of the kennel staff.
Kennel operator Jian Karlos Ortiz Mendez was unavailable for comment.
Law enforcement authorities arrested Ortiz Mendez and charged him with 11 counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty and one misdemeanor count of Animal Neglect, stemming from a lack of water provided to kenneled dogs.
He is free on a $23,000 bond.
The case remains pending.
Meanwhile, Hernando County Animal Services has revoked Ortiz Mendez’s kennel license, Moloney said. No dogs or puppies may be sold or removed from the kennel unless they are removed under the direct care of a licensed veterinarian.