Alleged 'illegal kennel' raided in Chester County

SPCA officials say they found 54 dogs at a home on Crumley Avenue in Malvern on April 18, 2011.

April 18, 2011 7:27:45 PM PDT
The Chester County SPCA raided a home after receiving a tip call.

The SPCA says the home on Crumley Avenue in Malvern was operating as an illegal kennel.

Officers carted off 54 dogs and puppies found inside the home.

The dogs posed for mug shots before they were packed into vans waiting to take them to the shelter.

Investigators say they found deplorable conditions inside.

They say the dogs were crammed into crates stacked on top of each other with multiple dogs to a crate.

Investigators say they were in a poorly lit room with no ventilation.

The woman who lives in the home, apparently, advertised the purebred dogs on the internet.

A customer who showed up yesterday was appalled by the conditions and called the SPCA.

"It's really a cautionary tale for people that buy animals blindly off the internet, but they were kind enough to tip us off and Chester County SPCA immediately investigated," Chester County SPCA spokesperson Rich Britton said.

Purebred dogs like those found in the home can fetch thousands of dollars apiece.

A licensed kennel is required to meet sanitation standards and have proof that all the dogs have been properly vaccinated.

Investigators say there was no evidence of that in this instance.

Pennsylvania law allows private homes to have up to 25 dogs without getting a kennel license.

Yvonne Tikkala, the woman selling dogs out of the house, says she cares for the animals, but things just got out of hand with multiple litters.

"They've all had their shots, I have licenses for most of them, except of the puppies, so I feel I've done everything within the law, except that I have too many," Tikkala said.

Tikkala says she loved all of the dogs. The SPCA says she faces multiple charges of animal cruelty and a charge of operating an unlicensed kennel.