Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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October 15, 2008

Attorney General Corbett files injunction to close Lancaster County kennel

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the Attorney General's Office has a filed legal action to permanently shut down a Lancaster County dog kennel.  Corbett is also asking Commonwealth Court to impose more than $4 million in fines on the kennel owners for their alleged advertising violations, which are spelled out in previous court settlements.

Corbett said that attorneys in his Bureau of Consumer Protection have filed a contempt petition in Commonwealth Court against Puppy Love Kennels, also doing business as CC Pets, and their owners Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, of Peach Bottom, Lancaster County.

Corbett said the Attorney General's Office has a history of legal action against the Stoltzfuses dating back to 1997.  He said that a settlement agreement three years ago prohibited the Stoltzfuses from placing classified advertisements that did not specifically mention their business. 

Corbett alleges that the Stoltzfuses placed 884 classified ads either in print or online in newspapers in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Allentown and Carlisle that failed to include the kennel name.  Each violation carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and Corbett is seeking more than $4.4 million.

Corbett said, "There is no room in Pennsylvania for dog breeders who regularly deceive consumers, repeatedly violate the law and willfully ignore previous legal actions by the Attorney General's Office.  The continued operation of CC Pets is an attack on our consumer protection laws, an insult to the many legitimate dog breeders and sellers across the state and we are asking the court to move quickly to close this business permanently."

Corbett explained that in 2005 his office negotiated the largest-ever state consumer fraud settlement involving the sale of sick and defective dogs.  That suit was filed on behalf of 171 consumers who bought dogs from the Stoltzfuses.

The settlement specifically required the Stoltzfuses to pay $50,000 to consumers, $25,000 in fines and specifically stated that the, "Defendants SHALL direct that any advertisements placed by or at their direction in any medium shall identify the defendants by the name under which defendants conduct business or as a licensed kennel."

The Attorney General said that his office alleges that the Stoltzfuses violated the advertising provisions of the 2005 settlement more than 800 times and should be permanently put out of business.

Corbett said the contempt petition was filed yesterday in Commonwealth Court and Deputy Attorney General Kathryn Silcox is representing the Commonwealth.