Fauquier County Animal Control received an anonymous tip about a suspected puppy mill in Fauquier County, Virginia. The tip was from someone who had attempted to purchase a dog from Vernine Gipstein, 69, and Barton Gipstein, 75. However, they noticed that the puppy that was being sold to them did not appear to be healthy and even had fleas. This didn’t seem right to them, so they reached out for help immediately. Luckily, their simple tip ended up making a huge difference, especially for the poor dogs involved.
When Animal Control deputies came to the scene, they tried to get a look at the suspected puppy mill. However, Vernine Gipstein would not allow them to complete access to see the conditions of the dogs. That alone made the deputies more suspicious.
Also, based on the dogs they saw and the behavior of the Gipsteins, the officers believed that something was definitely going on. Therefore, they returned to the property a few days later in order to further investigate.
When they arrived for the second time, they found Vernine Gipstein blocking the driveway. Then, during the investigation, the Gipsteins were unable to show proper paperwork for the dogs and the facility.
After that encounter, Marisa Efaw, an animal control deputy, obtained a search warrant. When they executed that warrant, they found a horrific scene. 80 wheaten terriers were found on the property in terrible conditions. Multiple adults and puppies were kept in cages together that were far too small for even one dog to live in.
The facility was completely unsanitary and many dogs didn’t even have access to drinking water. Also, many of the dogs were matted, some had fleas, and one even had an exposed femur on their leg. The officers had never seen anything like it.
A neighbor of the Gipsteins stated that he had no idea that this was even going on. He was shocked to hear that there were multiple dogs on that property, let alone 80 total.
All 80 dogs were taken to the Fauquier County Animal Control facility that is located at the Fauquier SPCA. They’re not up for adoption just yet because they have a lot of healing to do. At the SPCA, they are receiving the care and veterinary attention that they need.
“They’re much calmer and doing much better today than they were yesterday,” said the executive director of the SPCA.
Both Vernine and Barton Gipstein were charged with one count of felony animal cruelty. Vernine was released on a $3,000 unsecured bond and Barton was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond. However, the dogs are now safe so that’s what really matters.
No dog deserves to be in that situation, so it’s heartbreaking to see so many in those horrible conditions. Sadly, puppy mills happen often, and they can be difficult to notice. Always be cautious when you see puppies for sale because it’s always possible that they could have come from a dark situation like this one. Luckily, these 80 dogs will get a second chance at life and hopefully find a loving family.