PAWS Magazine

 

Issue 46, Summer 2000

 

Notorious Snohomish county puppy dealer goes to jail

This time, the tears were tears of joy rather than ones of anger and frustration. As Julie Hope sat in the Cascade District Courtroom listening to the Snohomish County Commissioner sentence long-time puppy mill importer Wendy F. Lamon, she felt relief knowing Lamon’s illegal operation was finally being shut down. As she and fellow victim George Echols listened to the sentence, she said “I was crying out of joy for [seeing the end to] all the suffering that she put these poor puppies through and for all the pain of her victims.”

Since 1995 more than a half dozen PAWS staff members have been tracking the activities of Lamon in the City of Everett as well as unincorporated Snohomish County. Working directly with the Snohomish County Prosecutor, Erica Temple, the Snohomish County Licensing Department, as well as Lamon’s numerous victims, PAWS has helped see to it that Lamon has finally been sentenced to significant jail time, a financial penalty and best of all, denying her the right to possess dogs in the state of Washington for two years. “This is a huge victory for the animals,” said Kay Joubert, PAWS Companion Animal Advocate, “because it shows the court system finally understands the depth of suffering Lamon’s activities has caused the puppies and her human victims.”

For over five years, PAWS has been tracking the activities of Lamon, and has helped nearly a hundred victims who bought puppies from Lamon, most of whom turned out to be sick or died shortly after being purchased. Lamon’s tactic was to import puppies from large-scale puppy mills and brokers in the Midwest, then re-sell the puppies under the premise that they were “home raised,” never revealing their true origin and background to the unsuspecting buyers.

In 1996, The City of Everett, acting on information provided by PAWS, charged Lamon with three counts of doing business without a kennel license. After receiving numerous complaints from the public, PAWS Advocate Will Anderson conducted a lengthy investigation of Lamon, who has used multiple aliases to place misleading advertisements in local papers for purebred puppies, claiming their parents are “on site.” In reality few if any of Lamon’s dogs are bred on her property and she regularly violated her commercial kennel license by importing up to 520 puppies in a year from 12 mass-producing puppy brokers in Missouri and Iowa.

Research conducted by PAWS documented that each puppy mill used by Lamon actually warehouses dozens to in excess of a hundred mother dogs whose offspring are shipped thousands of miles to individuals, like Lamon, along with pet stores across the country. “Under these conditions, the mother dogs typically are denied the normal socialization and special one-to-one relationship that dogs and people seek and crave,” explained Anderson.

Around 1997, shortly after being found guilty on four counts of doing business without a license in Everett City limits, Lamon moved to unincorporated Snohomish County and continued her activities. Stephanie Bell, a member of the PAWS advocacy staff during that time, quickly notified the Snohomish County Licensing and Auditing Departments of Lamon’s presence and her history of kennel license violations. It took Lamon over a year to pay the $400 fine imposed by the city of Everett, yet she continued to import and sell puppies with an estimated retail value of $260,000 during a one year period in 1997-1998.

In 1999 Joubert took over the tracking of Lamon activities for PAWS and began working closely with the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Erica Temple. In October of that year, the first of a series of charges were filed based on information from victims that PAWS had channeled to the prosecutor’s office. “Lamon’s victims were calling from as far north as Bellingham, and as far south as Portland, Oregon, so we knew action had to be taken by the courts,” explained Joubert. Once the Prosecutor’s office got their first guilty verdict, Joubert provided information to the Probation Office regarding Lamon’s long history of violating the law. “We knew that a harsh sentence was needed to ensure Lamon’s operations would be shut down, so I jumped at the chance to provide the Probation Officer with volumes of information that could be used during the sentencing process,” said Joubert.

The information provided by PAWS, along with compelling testimony from her victims, were the keys to Lamon’s strong sentence. When Joubert spread the word about the ruling, present and former PAWS staff celebrated the decision. “I am pleased that she has received what she deserves,” expressed a jubilant Stephanie Bell, who organized a press conference for PAWS outlining Lamon’s activities in 1998.

“All along we have felt the real winners in this case would be the puppies,” added Joubert. “If even one person can learn about the hidden dangers of buying a puppy from what appears to be a ‘reputable local breeder,’ then all these years of work will have been well worth the effort.”

The best way to avoid being the victim of a puppy mill breeder is to not buy a puppy from a breeder. When looking for a new puppy for your family, PAWS strongly encourages you to consider adopting from a shelter or a purebred rescue organization. There are millions of great puppies and adult dogs in shelters across the nation that are looking for a new family.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a puppy mill dog dealer, please contact PAWS Companion Animal Advocate Kay Joubert at 425-787-2500 ext. 828.



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