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article imageB.C. dog breeder banned from owning dogs for 20 years

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 10, 2014 in Crime
Abbotsford - A 70-year-old B.C. man received the ban after he was convicted of cruelty to animals following a 2010 raid in which the B.C. SPCA seized several dogs from a puppy mill.
Mel Gerling appeared in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday for sentencing. In addition to the ownership ban, Gerling was given a six-month conditional sentence and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. A conditional sentence is one that is served at home rather than in jail.
Gerling was charged in May 2011 with one count of causing unnecessary pain and suffering under the Criminal Code. He was also charged with causing an animal to continue to be under distress under the province's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
When the charges were laid, Marcie Moriarty, director of cruelty investigations with the B.C. SPCA said she was very pleased with the charges. She said, "This is a long-standing case. We've received numerous complaints over the years about animals in this person's custody."
Gerling was convicted of the offences last December. He had claimed someone else was looking after the dogs while he was having new kennels built.
As a result of the complaints, the SPCA raided a property in Chilliwack and seized 14 dogs. They believe most of the dogs were three or four years old and had spent their entire lives in cages. It appeared they were never walked. Seized were shi tzus, chihuahuas, pugs and terrier crosses. The dogs were bred to be sold in what was described as a puppy mill where dogs are bred for profit and very little attention is paid to their well-being.
When the dogs were seized, SPCA officials found they were not protected from the elements and had health issues ranging from matted hair to dental problems to overgrown nails. All 14 of the animals survived and were eventually adopted out.
After sentencing, Moriarty said, "We are extremely pleased with this sentence because the ban means he will no longer be able to operate substandard breeding operations that inflict suffering on animals." The SPCA urges the public to do research before buying a dog and purchase one only from reputable breeders.
Gerling's business has been shut down.
The maximum punishment for cruelty to animals is 18 months in prison, a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on owning animals.
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