Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Abbotsford man banned from owning animals after conviction on cruelty charges

April 9, 2014 By Staff Reporter, The Province  

An Abbotsford puppy mill owner convicted on animal cruelty charges has been given a 20-year ban on owning animals. Melvin Leonard Gerling was sentenced Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court after being found guilty following a trial in Chilliwack last December.

Gerling was convicted on charges of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and failing to provide the necessaries for an animal. Along with the ban on owning animals, he was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and a six-month conditional sentence.

On Sept. 24, 2010, officers from the B.C. SPCA executed a search warrant at 406 Sumas Way in Abbotsford and seized 14 small dogs who were in distress.

The SPCA’s Marcie Moriarty applauded the sentence. “The ban means he will no longer be able to operate substandard breeding operations that inflict suffering on animals,” Moriarty said in a press release. She said Gerling bred dogs in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge and sold them through his Surrey pet store, Puppy Paradise, which has since been shut down.

A veterinarian who examined the dogs at the time of the seizure found tooth and nail issues, matted fur and varying degrees of “ocular pathology.” Some also had luxating patellas, or floating kneecaps, a common condition in dogs. The dogs were treated and put up for adoption.

Gerling’s lawyer submitted at trial that Gerling was paying a tenant at the Sumas Way property $700 per month to take care of the dogs while he built two new kennel buildings elsewhere.

The agreement was for the tenant to keep the dogs for a month, and during that time take the dogs to a vet to have their teeth looked at and any other medical issues dealt with. Gerling said he visited the property once or twice in September 2010. Gerling said his intention at the end of the month was to give the dogs away for free.

Gerling’s operation, which was based at a couple of locations in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, was the subject of a number of orders from the SPCA from 2006 to 2010.

February 19, 2016 update: B.C. puppy mill operator, Mel Gerling, convicted of cruelty denied appeal

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