Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Indiana Subpoenas Puppy Mill With Search Warrant

Animals, Records Seized from Troubled Puppy Business

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced today that a Cloverdale woman's failure to comply with a state subpoena to produce business and tax records resulted in the removal of approximately 60 animals from her property.

The Indiana Attorney General's office, the Owen County Sheriff's office and the Indiana Department of Revenue (IDR) served Tammy Gilchrist with a search warrant for business and tax records dating back to 1998. Gilchrist was also served a jeopardy assessment authorizing the state to immediately collect tax the Indiana Department of Revenue finds is in danger of being recovered if standard assessment and collection procedures are followed.

"This woman has left behind a trail of misery for many consumers over the past several years," said Carter. "The seizure today effectively puts her out of business."

When she was unable to produce payment of $192,960.28, Gilchrist was served with a jeopardy levy, enabling the state to seize her bank accounts and inventory of animals including approximately 55 dogs and four horses. Three veterinarians and 15 volunteers from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and local animal care and rescue organizations were on site to assist with safe removal of the animals from Gilchrist's property.

"Ms. Gilchrist has shown a pattern of negative business practices that has resulted in the actions taken today," said Carter. "She was unable to produce the necessary records or payment, so we were able to remove and find temporary shelter for the animals. Taxpayers are victims too if some don't pay their fair share."

Carter said the support of the HSUS was a key to achieving a good result for the animals.

"The future of these animals is a lot brighter," said Anne Sterling, the HSUS' Indiana state director. "It is extremely gratifying to know that we have given these animals the chance to live outside the confines of their squalid cages."

Many of these dogs were emaciated and suffered from obvious medical ailments such as open sores and severe skin conditions. These animals have been placed with multiple humane organizations in the state. Once at their temporary homes, every animal will be assessed by a veterinarian, given any necessary medical attention, evaluated and placed for adoption.

The HSUS was called in to assist the Indiana Attorney General's Office with the rescue and placement of these animals. As a result, the HSUS brought together local volunteers and rescue groups across the region to secure assistance for the rescue operation and to find placements for these animals.

Members of the Bloomington Animal Care & Control, New Albany/Floyd County Animal Shelter, Humane Society of Indianapolis, Humane Society of Northwest Indiana, Humane Society Calumet Area, Humane Society of Brown County, Monroe County Humane Association and Saving Paws Rescue also assisted by taking in animals or removing them from the property.

"Our office coordinated a major operation today with experienced animal welfare volunteers and, as a result, we are hopeful the animals seized will be in good hands," said Attorney General Carter.

Carter also commended the cooperation of Owen County Sheriff Chester Richardson, John Eckart, Commissioner of the IDR and Owen County Circuit Court Judge Frank Nardi, whose diligent preparation made the execution of the seizure a success.

"The public expects law enforcement agencies to work together, that's what made the seizure a success," said Attorney General Carter.

The Attorney General's office has received complaints about Gilchrist failing to deliver puppies offered for sale, misrepresenting the health or age of puppies, failing to deliver registration papers, failing to refund shipping fees, failing to obtain a kennel license and/or selling puppies with various viruses that died a few days after delivery.

As a result, the Attorney General's office filed a suit against Gilchrist in 2006. Operating under multiple aliases and business names, Gilchrist agreed to comply with consumer protection laws after learning of the State's intent to seek an immediate restraining order against her and her business.

Since October 2003, Gilchrist offered puppies of various breeds for sale to consumers through advertisements on various websites. She has conducted business as AKA Kennel, TEKS Kennel, Puppysrus and Affordable Pups, with a principal place of business in Owen County, located at 11231 Highway 231, Cloverdale, Indiana.

SOURCE Office of the Indiana Attorney General

No comments: