Attorney General: Dog Breeders Haven't Paid Sales Tax
5:47 AM, Jun 2, 2009
More than 200 dogs were seized from a Mauckport farm Tuesday as part of an investigation into unpaid taxes.A search warrant was served at the Breezy Valley Daily Farm, where investigators contend Virginia Garwood and her daughter, Kristen Garwood, have run a commercial dog breeding operation for at least three years, Call 6's Rafael Sanchez reported.
As a result of the raid, 220 dogs, many living in what investigators called squalid conditions, were removed from the farm and taken to an emergency shelter in New Albany to be evaluated by a veterinarian."It's a mass-breeding facility. It's kind of typical of what you see with puppy mills," said Anne Sterling with the Humane Society. "These dogs were not being treated as pets. They're basically a cash crop."The investigation into the Garwoods began after the attorney general's office received complaints that the women were breeding dogs and selling puppies for hundreds of dollars apiece, but not collecting any sales taxes.Department of Revenue records show that neither woman has remitted Indiana sales tax at any time, nor are they, or Breezy Valley Dairy Farm, registered as retail merchants in Indiana.No criminal charges were filed Tuesday, but the attorney general's office did order Virginia Garwood and Kristen Garwood to repay $132,440 in unpaid sales taxes and income taxes they allegedly failed to remit."By enforcing Indiana laws in this tax-evasion case, we are protecting consumers and supporting taxpaying businesspeople who play by the rules," said Attorney General Greg Zoeller.Consumers who purchased dogs from the Garwoods or Breezy Valley Daily Farm and wish to file a complaint can do so on the Attorney General's web site or by calling 800-382-5516.A new law passed by the Legislature earlier this year will give the state additional enforcement authority against commercial dog breeding operations, requiring caged dogs be allowed outside for exercise and increasing the penalties for animal cruelty. That law takes effect July 1.