Not partners, says 'puppy mill' accused

One of three people charged in relation to an alleged puppy mill wants to clarify information published in the Abbotsford News on Tuesday, May 10.

Damara English said that she and husband Patrick, who was also charged, were not business partners of the third accused, Mel Gerling, but were employees.

She also said Gerling did not sell his business to the couple, but gave them his assets in lieu of money owed.

They then started Luna Kennels, which Damara said was to be strictly a boarding facility and grooming salon, but that venture ended when a property agreement fell through.

Damara said the couple began working for Gerling in late 2009 when he operated Mountain View Kennels in Chilliwack.

Damara said she was a bookkeeper, and Patrick was hired to perform general maintenance. In April 2010, Gerling asked the couple to take over the day-to-day kennel operations.

The animals were moved in August 2010 from Chilliwack and were housed at a property in Abbotsford while a new location in Maple Ridge was being prepared.

The SPCA seized 14 dogs from the location in Abbotsford in September.

The Englishes and Gerling made their first appearance in court on Monday, May 9 on charges of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal and causing an animal to continue to be in distress.

The SPCA has said they have received repeated complaints about Gerling, and they allege he was running a puppy mill. The dogs seized suffered from a range of health issues, including badly matted fur, eye infections, dental disease and badly overgrown nails, the SPCA has said.



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