04/09/2014 03:22 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. 'Puppy Mill' Operator Mel Gerling Banned From Owning Pets For 20 Years


ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - A dog breeder convicted of animal cruelty for running so-called puppy mills at several locations east of Vancouver has been banned from owning animals for 20 years.

A judge also handed Mel Gerling a six-month conditional sentence and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service.

Gerling's conviction in December came after the SPCA seized 14 neglected dogs from his kennel in Abbotsford, B.C.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention officer for the SPCA, says many of the dogs, including shih tzus, Chihuahuas, pugs and terrier crosses, had an inherited knee disease, which can cause the kneecap to dislocate.

She says people who buy puppies without any information about their medical history or the conditions under which they were bred could be taking on massive veterinarian bills.

Moriarty says Gerling, who has been the focus of animal cruelty investigations since 2006, bred dogs in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge and sold them through his Surrey pet store, which has been shut down.

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