First Posted: 2/17/2009
HILLSVILLE, Va. Fifteen charges have been filed against a Hillsville area dog breeder after new state regulations governing the size of commercial dog breeders went into effect Jan. 1.
Those regulations, according to Carroll County Commonwealth Attorney Gregory G. Goad, were a result at least in part of previous problems with the same dog breeder.
Lanzie Carroll Horton Jr., who operates Hortons Pups, and Donald R. Frazier, of Austinville, were charged after county officials made an unannounced visit on Jan. 27 to operations maintained by the two men.
The new law limits commercial dog breeders to 50 dogs over the age of 1 year. Horton was charged with maintaining more than 50 adult dogs, failing to maintain adequate records on the dogs, and failing to have certificates that the dogs are healthy enough for breeding. All of these charges are class one misdemeanors, according to a written statement released by Goads office.
Horton also was charged with 12 counts of animal neglect by a dealer, which is a class 3 misdemeanor.
The case, and the new law, have their roots in a November 2007 incident when Horton released more than 700 dogs to authorities in what was described at the time as the largest puppy mill rescue in the country, Goads office said.
Horton was eventually convicted in that case of 14 counts of animal cruelty, 25 counts of neglect and one count of failing to obtain a license tax. His appeal on the animal cruelty convictions is pending in the Court of Appeals.
As a result of the Jan. 27 visits to the two operations, Frazier also was charged with maintaining more than 50 adult dogs, failing to maintain adequate records on the dogs, failing to have certificates that the dogs are healthy enough for breeding and seven counts of animal neglect by a dealer.
The animals in question at both facilities, however, were not seized, according to Goads office, because none were in life threatening conditions in the opinion of the state veterinarians office.
Both Horton and Frazier were released on personal recognizance bonds.