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August 13, 2020

“Puppy mill” operators get 12-month sentences

Vernine Barbara Gipstein, 69, and Barton Mannes Gipstein, 75, had 81 Wheaton Terriers — many in poor condition — at their kennel near Midland that sheriff’s deputies raided Sept. 11.
Photo/Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office
Some of the dogs seized from the Gipsteins’ property in September.
The elderly couple who operated a “puppy mill” near Midland that sheriff’s deputies raided in September received 12-month jail sentences Thursday morning in Fauquier County Circuit Court.

Barton Mannes Gipstein, 75, and his wife Vernine Barbara Gipstein, 69, each pleaded “no contest” in January to one count of animal cruelty.

Judge Lon E. Farris on Thursday suspended 11 months of the sentence for each defendant, who faced potential maximums of five years in prison.

Fauquier County Animal Control deputies on Sept. 11 seized 81 dogs from the couples’ Folly Court home.

The Gipsteins waived preliminary hearings Nov. 13 in general district court. That sent their cases to circuit court, where a grand jury indicted both of them Nov. 25.

The commonwealth’s attorney also dropped a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge against Ms. Gipstein in Fauquier County General District Court in November.

In addition to the 81 Wheaten Terriers seized in September, female dogs from the kennel gave birth to another 24, according to Fauquier SPCA Executive Director Devon Settle.

The SPCA has placed all of the terriers in adoptive homes, Ms. Settle said. But, a few of the seized dogs had to be euthanized because of health or behavioral issues.

Warrenton attorney Brooke Howard represented Ms. Gipstein. Robin C. Gulick represented Mr. Gipstein.

Sheriff’s deputies last fall executed a search warrant at the Gipstiens’ home “after receiving an anonymous tip” and seized “a large number of dogs in poor condition,” the agency said in press release at the time.
The tip came “from someone who had come into contact with the facility . . . . The person was shown a dog to purchase and alleged the dog was noticeably not well cared for and had fleas. The information alleged the facility was breeding and dealing in Wheaten Terriers.” 
While Ms. Gipstein, who owns the kennel, “would not grant full access to the property to determine the welfare of the dogs,” the sheriff’s office said, “deputies observed numerous dogs and other things that led them to believe the dogs were not being properly cared for. The investigation also determined the facility was not properly licensed. 
“Deputies returned to the property a few days later at an agreed-upon time to further the investigation. When they arrived, they encountered Gipstein blocking the driveway. During the investigation Gipstein was unable to produce proper paperwork she allegedly had regarding the dogs and facility.” 
Animal Control Deputy Marisa Efaw continued to investigate and obtained a search warrant, executed that afternoon.

“Deputies discovered many dogs in poor condition, in extremely unsanitary conditions and most had no access to water,” the sheriff’s office said. “Eighty dogs were seized as a result of the search warrant.  Many of the terriers were in poor health with matted, tangled fur. One terrier was found to have an exposed femur on one leg.” 
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Calypso · August 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm
All puppy mills should be closed down...its a sin against God raising these poor creatures for monetary gains
Savefauquiercounty2019 · August 16, 2020 at 10:13 am
These two are con artists and low life scum bags. They deserve to spend 81 months in jail.They should not be part of Fauquier society. What does this jail sentence say to the Fauquier community? What's next drive by shootings and drug cartels? These women should be fined heavily.
Mheld · August 13, 2020 at 10:16 pm
I had gotten a soft coat wheaten terrier from this breeder four years ago. The dog’s blood work showed her kidney values were off and after much extensive testing we learned she had juvenile renal dysplasia. Despite efforts to treat her and give her the best possible care, she was put to rest before she turned two. These breeders broke the hearts of three little girls who watched her suffer and live only a very short life. Anyone who adopts these dogs need to have testing completed immediately. I have correspondence with the breeders, who denied breeding genetic disorders as well as medical documentation regarding the disease. A lifetime sentence could not even make right what these people have done.
forwardnow · August 13, 2020 at 4:25 pm
I wish you would follow up on this event by letting your readers know the full exrent of the punishment. Did the owners have any futher operation restrictions inposed and if not why. This offense calls for more than a month in jail.
Animal rights advocater.
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