Craigslist Puppy Traffickers Found Guilty of Animal Neglect and Fraud
In 2022, a week-long trial was held in the Los Angeles Superior Court where the notorious Craigslist puppy traffickers, the Kenney family, were found guilty of animal neglect and fraud. The Kenney family had been selling sick dogs to families by misrepresenting the age, health, sex, and breed of the puppies they were breeding and selling. The Kenneys were finally held accountable for their actions, and this decision will prevent them from selling dogs in the future.
The Court’s Decision
The Court found that the Kenney family’s scheme was “especially heinous” due to the “suffering of the puppies and the resulting emotional toll their illnesses and deaths took on innocent families.” The decision awarded damages, including $100,000 in punitive damages, compensatory damages, including veterinary expenses, and $10,000 in emotional distress damages for each puppy sold to the purchasers. The court granted the injunction based in part on Corporations Code section 10404, which gives SPCAs standing to sue in civil court to enjoin animal law violations.
Neglect and Fraud
The Court confirmed that the evidence showed that the puppies were kept in unsanitary conditions, neglected, and were sick at the time of sale. The defendants provided fabricated immunization records to the families even though they knew their puppies were contracting deadly diseases such as Parvovirus. Three puppies at issue in the lawsuit died from these diseases, and several others purchased by families not connected to the lawsuit died, adding more weight to the charges against the Kenney family.
Emotional Distress Damages
The Court awarded damages for emotional distress by finding that the Kenney family’s behavior was especially heinous due to the “suffering of the puppies and the resulting emotional toll their illnesses and deaths took on innocent families.” This decision sends a strong message that sellers will be held accountable when they engage in animal neglect and fraud.
The Victims’ Stories
In this case, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of nine plaintiffs who purchased underage and sick puppies from the family between 2018 and 2020. Trina Kenney was previously federally prosecuted and convicted of felony mail fraud for selling abused and sick horses. One victim’s story is particularly heartbreaking. Newlyweds Brittany and Brandon Swigart paid $1,200 in cash for an 8-week-old mini-labradoodle puppy named Winnie they rescued from the Kennys in February 2019. The Kennys said Winnie was 8 weeks old and fully vaccinated, but soon after, the Swigarts discovered that Winnie was only 4 weeks old, had been dyed brown, and not vaccinated. Winnie died a few weeks after they brought her home because the Kennys had not provided her vaccines they promised she’d received.
What You Can Do
This lawsuit demonstrates the importance of taking legal action against sellers who engage in animal neglect and fraud. Members of the public who wish to avoid such exploitive behavior should consider adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization rather than purchasing one off the internet. Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible, which leads to unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect. By signing our pledge to boycott puppy mills, we can end this cruel industry.
Read more about this topic at
Court Rules in Favor of Victims of Online Puppy Trafficking
Puppy trafficking in Europe, a ‘well-organised mafia’ – Focus