Marijuana Plants, Baby and “Puppy Mill” Broker Discovered After Fire in San Diego Home

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Less than three months after the City of San Diego passed a ban to prohibit pet shops from selling puppies as a way to “end puppy mills,” a CBS 8 storyline on October 2 reads, “A house has revealed a pot-growing operation and possible puppy mill.”

A garage fire at a home in the 5200 block of Auburn Drive, near Loris Street, was reported at 11:25 p.m. on Monday. It was a small blaze next to an electrical box and the flames were extinguished by San Diego Fire within ten minutes, according to CBS 8.

However, afterward, 60 to 70 marijuana plants were discovered inside the home and were confiscated, San Diego Police Sgt. Robin Rose states.

And, another discovery was made. It appears the resident of the home is a “puppy broker.”

UT San Diego reports that 13 puppies, all less than four months old, were removed from the home by San Diego County Animal Services after the drug arrest. Being a “puppy broker,” means that puppies are purchased from a breeder--often from a puppy mill--and sold either in person or over the Internet.

The pups were Rottweilers, Yorkshire terriers, Dobermans, and miniature poodles as well as Old English bulldogs, said Dan DeSousa, Deputy Director of San Diego County Department of Animal Services.

The resident, Christopher Palmer, 32, was arrested. Police said a woman at the house could also face charges, depending upon the outcome of an investigation in regard to the pot---not the puppies.

The couple’s 3-month-old baby was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, according to a Fire-Rescue department official. It appeared that the couple was staying in the living room with the baby, and the other rooms of the house were all taken up by the puppies and the pot-growing operation, police stated.

Fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by faulty wiring that had been rigged to steal electricity, UT San Diego reported.

Christopher Palmer was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, child endangerment and theft of utility services. He is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, according to court records.

And the puppies? Deputy Director DeSousa said the dogs will be held for two weeks, and then their owner can claim them. “Palmer acted as a broker, buying puppies from other sources and re-selling them, and did not appear to be breaking any laws regarding the dogs,” DeSousa told UT San Diego.

San Diego law allows residents to have six adult dogs on their properties but there is no limit on puppies under the age of four months, he explained.

Thus, San Diego city is now in the very embarrassing position of having an ordinance that punishes a retail outlet that offers puppies for resale, even if it complies with the extensive, stringent State requirements to run a “pet shop”and sell pets.

However, there are no laws that regulate nor require a license/permit or any inspection of a “puppy broker,”who conducts the same business from a residence—even if those puppies are obtained from a “puppy mill.”

Sources: CBS 8, UT San Diego, My Digital Publication