Porter County dog breeder says animal neglect charges are ‘unfair’
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent September 3, 2012 4:14PM
Updated: October 5, 2012 6:15AM
VALPARAISO — A local dog breeder who had 23 Labrador retrievers seized from his home by Porter County Animal Control over the weekend said he is not being treated fairly and will fight pending charges against him.
“I’m not a bad person. I don’t get it. I don’t understand where they’re coming from,” Mike Blythe, owner of Creekside Kennels in Morgan Township, said on Monday.
Blythe faces 14 Class A misdemeanor counts of animal neglect and an additional 14 infractions for not having his dogs immunized, said Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer for the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, adding a probable cause affidavit will be forwarded to the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.
Animal control was first called to Blythe’s property over a complaint about a couple of horses, LaFlower said. In the process of investigating those concerns, which turned out to be minor, animal control officer Patrick Cassin found what he said were unsanitary conditions in the dogs’ kennels, including a build-up of feces, dogs being fed off the dirty floor and filthy water bowls, and injury hazards.
Cassin also reported that the 14 adult dogs were obese, which could cause hip joint problems; all the dogs had ear infections; and three of the adult dogs tested positive for worms before they were seized. The dogs also lacked some vaccinations.
Blythe said animal control came to his property Friday, when he was preparing for a family function that would take up much of the weekend. He agreed to do what he could by Saturday, when animal control was going to check on his progress.
Blythe was called home Saturday because animal control was seizing his dogs. He admitted he was a bit behind on his cleaning but did what he could to catch up despite the family event, and there was little mess in the kennels when officers arrived.
“I run a clean operation because I have a business,” he said, adding customers stop by to see his puppies. “They come in my kennel.”
LaFlower, though, said Blythe did little to clean up the kennels and, while the dogs had clean water, it was in the same dirty bowls, and feces was pushed out of the kennels but was still near enough to them to be unsanitary.
Blythe, who has run his business for 12 years, said his facility is regularly inspected by the American Kennel Club and he’s “never had an issue” with animal control, much less faced pending charges.
“I feel like this was unfair,” he said. “At this point, I’m fighting this because it’s wrong.”