The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, February 16, 2006  

Thursday Bulldog Blogging

No, this post is not here to serve as a gratuitous opportunity to write about my bulldog Mildred, but rather to commend the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and the Chester County SPCA for shutting down, at least temporarily, a suspected puppy mill operated by Michael Wolf and Gordon Trottier, who were charged with 402 counts of animal cruelty involving hundreds of dogs following raid on Friday in Lower Oxford Township, Pa.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer ("Two Chesco Men Accused of Cruelty Involving 337 Dogs," by Bonnie L. Cook), Wolf and Trottier were running an illegal operation called Mike-Mar Cavaliers and marketed pappillons, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and English bulldogs through a web site called

Chuck McDevitt, spokesman for the Chester County SPCA, says in the Inquirer article that his agency had not handled a case involving so many animals since its inception in 1929.

The Inquirer also reports:

Humane officers, acting on a tip from a customer at the kennel, conducted a raid Friday and said they found dogs stacked in crates and standing in their own waste. Others were sick or had untreated broken bones, McDevitt said.

"One had no fur, was covered with mange, and was trembling," McDevitt said. "He's afraid. When you see that, you want to pick the dog up and let it know, it's OK. A few minutes later, you're feeling anger that a living, breathing being was uncared for."

Of the cruelty charges, Wolf was cited with 337 counts, Trottier 65. They are summary offenses, similar to a traffic ticket, although penalties can include a fine and forfeiting the animals. […]

Animal handlers removed 337 dogs, four cats, and a parrot from the kennel. All were being evaluated at the Chester County SPCA.

Those that needed medical care were taken to local veterinarians, McDevitt said. By Saturday, 137 dogs had been handed over to other shelters throughout the region, leaving the Chester County SPCA with 200 dogs.

No dogs were euthanized, McDevitt said. The animals will remain in SPCA custody until the cases against Wolf and Trottier are decided.

The Philadelphia Daily News also covered the arrests ("Kennel Owner Charged With 337 Counts of Animal Cruelty," by Gloria Campisi and Simone Weichselbaum), with quotes from one of the accused:

Kennel owner Michael Wolf, 65, said yesterday the pooches were living in crowded circumstances because of renovations to the quarters where some would normally be housed.

He said complaints of odors were because it was winter. "If you have a lot of dogs under one roof, you're going to have an odor." He denied they were living in filthy conditions.

Wolf, who said he had raised dogs since he was a child, admitted he had more dogs "than I should have." But he said he would fight to get his dogs back, "if I have to sell my house.

"They took my little friends. These dogs were cared for," he said, noting that some of them were even fed strained baby food. "We love them. We played with them all the time."

Although he advertises pups on the Internet, authorities said Wolf's kennel license was revoked two years ago.

That last point, I think, gets to the heart of the state's case against these two, no matter what public defense they might offer.

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