April 23, 2009
Convicted Va. Puppy Miller Arrested Again
HSUS Urges Maximum Penalty If Charges Prove True
Virginia's most notorious alleged puppy miller, Lanzie "Junior" Horton, faces new charges this week and The Humane Society of the United States urges the commonwealth's attorney to prosecute him to the full extent of the law if warranted by the evidence.
"Local activists are telling us that Junior Horton is still selling puppies despite the raid on his facility in 2007 and his 2008 conviction on animal cruelty charges," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of the Puppy Mills campaign for The HSUS. "He has been given more than enough chances. If these latest charges are proven, we're asking local officials to seek the strongest possible sentence and send a message that Virginians will not tolerate animal neglect."
In January 2009, an animal control officer and a representative of the Virginia state veterinarian's office conducted an unannounced inspection of Horton's property. They once again found numerous alleged violations and charged Horton and his alleged associate, Donald Frazier with multiple counts of neglect, harboring too many adult dogs and failing to maintain adequate health records. Horton and Frazier will be tried on Friday.
Puppy mills are mass dog producing facilities that keep animals in cages or kennels, often in squalid conditions with little or no exercise, socialization or human interaction. Dogs from puppy mills are often sold online or through the classifieds to unsuspecting consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health or genetic history. A number of citizens have complained to The HSUS and local officials after allegedly purchasing sick and dying puppies from Horton.
To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.
- November 2007: The HSUS released a five month investigation of Virginia's underground puppy mill industry which included footage of "Horton's Pups," a large-scale, abusive puppy mill with more than 1,000 dogs. The mill was owned and operated by Lanzie "Junior" Horton in Hillsville, Va.
- November 2007: Soon after the investigation was released, The HSUS, along with local animal welfare groups, assisted as law enforcement authorities raided Horton's Pups puppy mill and removed more than 700 dogs from deplorable conditions. Horton was charged and convicted of 14 counts of animal cruelty in 2008, but was allowed to keep a maximum of 250 dogs. The conviction was appealed twice and was upheld both times.
- April 2008: Virginia passed legislation last year that strengthened protections for dogs in abusive puppy mills. The new law sets specific age standards for breeding, requires annual certification for each dog by a licensed veterinarian and caps the number of dogs kept at one time that are older than one year at 50, along with some other very basic care standards. The new law also disallows anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty from operating a breeding business.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.