Former random source Class B dealers Floyd and Susan Martin—owners of Chestnut Grove Kennel in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania—were back in court on August 26 for formal sentencing on charges of mail fraud (Floyd) and conspiracy (Susan) stemming from their illegal acquisition of hundreds of dogs and cats for sale to laboratories over a five-year period. (See Spring 2013 AWI Quarterly.) According to the indictment, the Martins falsified documents submitted to USDA to conceal the number of dogs they acquired from “bunchers”—unlicensed individuals who collect dogs for such purposes. They then sold the dogs at substantial profit to research facilities and some of the nation’s largest hospitals—including Johns Hopkins.
AWI had written to Judge John E. Jones III supporting the prosecutor’s recommendation of jail time for Floyd and a substantial probation period for Susan, and a payment of $300,000 in restitution. The letter stated in part that the recommended sentences “… send a strong message to USDA licensees … that lying about their activities in order to avoid obeying the law will not be tolerated.” The judge imposed the recommended fine, sentenced Susan to three years’ probation, and sentenced Floyd to six months in prison.
Judge Jones said, in fact, that he would have put Floyd away for the maximum 14 months were it not for Floyd’s poor health due to multiple sclerosis. As reported on
Philly.com (the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer), the judge was not at all impressed by Floyd’s in-court apology, telling Floyd “‘I think you are sorry you got caught.’” Addressing both Martins, Judge Jones said, “‘You gamed the system not once but many times, wantonly, deliberately for great financial gain. You … encouraged others to break the law. … There are multiple animal victims and that makes a difference to this court. … I hope this sends a message to others who violate the strictures kennels are under.’”