More than 120 dogs, chickens and other companion animals were removed from a private kennel in Fauquier County Tuesday after sheriff’s deputies found deceased animals as well as animals suffering from neglect and lacking access to food and water.
Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office deputies executed a search warrant at Canis Maximus, located at 6502 Beverley’s Mill Road in the Broad Run area of Fauquier County, on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
The animals were removed and the kennel’s owner, Irine Barrett, 41, was arrested and charged with felony cruelty to animals resulting in death and misdemeanor neglect of companion animals in connection with the incident.
Barrett was held on a $2,500 secured bond at the time of her arrest. Future charges are anticipated as the investigation continues, according to Sgt. James Hartman, spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
More than 70 dogs, mostly Doberman pinschers and French bulldogs, were removed from the kennel and turned over the Fauquier SPCA, Hartman said.
The investigation into Canis Maximus began earlier this month when a female Doberman pincher puppy named Yeva was left unclaimed at the Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Reisterstown, Maryland, and later died, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in connection with the case.
The Baltimore County Police Department conducted an investigation and determined the dog exhibited signs of prolonged neglect. It was reported that the puppy was owned by Barrett, according to the search warrant.
A Fauquier County sheriff’s deputy noted that Yeva appeared “emaciated and neglected,” the search warrant affidavit said.
The deceased dog was transferred to the Fauquier Health Department Agriculture Laboratory for necropsy. Fauquier County animal control deputies then sought a search warrant for evidence of long-term cruelty and neglect possibly contributing to the dog’s death, Hartman said.
“Preliminary results determined the dog did not receive adequate care and endured extreme suffering,” Hartman said.
The kennel has been accused of animal neglect before. Hilleary Bogley, a Fauquier County court-appointed humane investigator, filed a report on Canis Maximus in 2013 in conjunction with a request for a special use permit that ended up before the Fauquier County Board of Zoning Appeals.
In her report, Bogley described the kennel as a “puppy mill,” which the Humane Society of the United States defines as an “inhumane, commercial dog-breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.”
Bogley’s report also detailed numerous medical issues among dogs at the kennel as well as the kennel’s cramped and “filthy conditions.”
Bogley’s report said, in part: “We … walked around the house to a room to the right of the garage where there were two [6- by 6-feet] kennels. There was no ventilation in this room and again a strong stench of urine and feces filled the air. The walls were streaked in mud and feces. Both pens had urine-soaked newspapers with a good amount of urine and feces. The dogs were unable to get out of their own waste.”
The report also noted young Doberman puppies with “dirty bandages” on their ears from recent cropping surgeries as well as dogs that acted “fearful” and “unsocialized” or showed symptoms of mange.
“None of the dogs had food or water bowls or access to water, and [Barrett] explained that they make too big of a mess when they are permitted to have water, so she only allows them to drink three or four times a day when she offers water,” Bogely’s report said.
At the time, there were approximately 50 dogs housed at Barrett’s home, according to Bogely’s report.
Bogley recommended that the Canis Maximum kennel be allowed no more than 12 dogs. Barrett sued Bogley and the foundation for $1.35 million for defamation in response to the report.
The kennel ultimately surrendered 12 of the dogs to the Middleburg Humane Foundation for adoption. Barrett’s request for a permit was denied, and the lawsuit against Bogley and the Middleburg Humane Foundation was ultimately dismissed.
In the current investigation, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control received assistance from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fauquier County SPCA and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office Animal Law Unit.
Correction: This story has been corrected to note that more than 70 dogs -- not 50 -- were removed from the kennel along with about 50 other animals.
Reach Robin Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org