A man and a woman are in custody after officers removed 21 dogs from an illegal breeding operation.
It happened Thursday at a home on the 4300 block of Benner Street in the city’s Mayfair section.
Officials say the dogs, including Jack Russell terriers, Shih Tzus, labs and beagles, were removed from the property. They also say some of the dogs, including 11 puppies, were either sick or exposed to other sick dogs.
The owners of the animals, Kristie Mitchell, 34, and Daniel Carlin, 27, were cited for 42 counts of animal cruelty. Officials say Mitchell previously pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges in 2009 and pleaded guilty to other animal cruelty charges in 2010.
“We want to send a strong message that illegal breeding operations will not be tolerated,” said George Bengal, director of Humane Law Enforcement. “Unfortunately the recidivism rate with illegal animal breeding remains high, and animals are suffering.”
Officials say they’ve monitored Mitchell due to her history. Officers visited her home back on Tuesday and removed a dog and a cat. They say they then returned the next day with a search warrant and removed the rest of the animals. Investigators also believe at least seven other dogs died at the location in the past several weeks.
The 21 rescued dogs were taken to the Pennsylvania SPCA where they are undergoing evaluation and treatment. They will be placed with rescue organizations and eventually new homes. They are all expected to recover.