Ironwood Kennels in Lehigh Co, operated by Miriam “Mimi” Winkler and James Deppen, was inspected by 3 PA dog wardens on April 27:
The visit turned up 18 bichon frise dogs that were “living in unsanitary conditions and had heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors on some of the dogs that were untreated,” police said.
The kennel owners turned all 18 dogs over to the dog wardens. The following day, one of the dog wardens returned to the kennel and Ms. Winkler surrendered “an emaciated and sickly border collie”. Authorities tried repeatedly to contact Ms. Winkler and Mr. Deppen in the following weeks without success.
The three dog wardens then returned June 4 to the kennel and discovered three Neapolitan Mastiff dogs “in health conditions that indicate that necessary vet care had not been provided.”
An order to obtain veterinary care was left and, in accordance with state law, the wardens waited 72 hours to allow for compliance.
The wardens returned June 7 to find “two of the Neapolitan mastiffs were deceased, one of which was disposed of outside of the kennel in a wheelbarrow,” police said.
The owners have each been “charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty and one count criminal conspiracy“. There is a video here, shot from outside the property, which shows a well kept lawn that doesn’t look like dozens of dogs are exercised on it daily. The video does not show the kennels or dogs. (Note: 15 second ad prior to vid.)
According to Infodog, Mr. Deppen is an AKC conformation judge, approved to judge several breeds with provisional approval on many more. On one of the weekends during the period authorities were trying to reach him regarding the allegedly sick and neglected dogs at his kennel, he was apparently judging show dogs in Virginia. A Neapolitan Mastiff bred by Mr. Deppen and Ms. Winkler was shown at the Westminster Kennel Club show in February.
Winkler and Deppen are in the process of filing papers in Harrisburg to close the kennel, according to state police.
It’s unclear to me what this means exactly. Does it indicate they are planning to move? Or simply that they are planning to come into compliance with local laws changing their status from kennel operators to regular pet owners? Something else?