Local News


The innocent victims of an illegal dog breeder

Posted at 7:09 AM, Oct 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-16 10:09:09-04

Contact 13 catches a convicted felon violating her probation by illegally breeding and selling dogs. 

She's back in prison as of last week, but what about the puppies? 

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears tracks the innocent victims of a local puppy mill.

When we first met Bronte, she was among a group of buttery Golden Retriever puppies--seven of them--and four Yorkies.  All seized by Clark County Animal Control from the home of Carla Chambers.

"These puppies--the Yorkies included--just aren't thriving," said Tammie McNeill of Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada.  "They're underweight--all of them.  Four out of seven seem to have this hip issue."

And none have been able to shed the parasites they've been treated for since they were seized in March.

"I don't know the conditions (of the Chambers home), but they must have been horrible," McNeill said.

Last Tuesday, a federal judge in San Diego ordered Carla Chambers back to prison after revoking her probation. 

While illegally selling puppies in Las Vegas, she was still under supervised release for selling babies in California--convicted in 2012 as part of an international surrogacy scheme where babies were sold to infertile couples for $100,000 each.

"Puppies are like nothing to her, my God, you're selling children!  You know?! And playing on the emotions of infertile couples!" McNeill said incredulously.

The emotions of a Las Vegas couple, Lindsay Howard and Chris Kemp, are now in play.

"They're like our babies," Lindsay said about her two dogs.  "We don't have kids so of course we'd do anything for them."

The young couple wanted a friend for their Boxer, Lady.  And wanted to give one of the Chambers puppies a chance for a good life. 

They adopted Bronte through Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Nevada.

Hanging out in a cage with a cone on your head is hardly the life for a 9-month-old puppy. 

Bronte should be running and playing but instead, she's recovering from the first of two surgeries. 

In fact, she's been sick for most of her young life.

"It's so sad," said Lindsay.  "Poor little Bronte.  She doesn't even know what it's like to not be on meds.  And she doesn't know what it's like to be a puppy and she's never gonna experience that."

Bronte spent the first seven months of her life battling intestinal parasites.

"And then we started hearing her hips pop," Lindsay said.  "And it was--she'd walk and every step--it was like pop, pop, pop, pop."

Even when they first brought her home, you can see on their home video that Bronte stumbles as she tries to get up in the backyard grass. 

Just a little bit of activity resulted in days of down time.

"For two days, laying down, and that's not normal.  And that's what was our red flag."

Bronte recently underwent her first major hip surgery.  

Her pelvis had to be cut in multiple places and re-positioned in order to properly hold her leg in place. 

The other hip will be operated on in about a month.

"She has two months that she's gonna be having to be kenneled and try and keep her confined in a small space just so both of her hips could heal."

Chris lays on the floor, comforting Bronte when he's not holding her hips up with a soft sling to help her walk. 

Lindsay hopes the fate of Carla Chambers and her puppy mill puppies is heard loud and clear by other illegal breeders.

"I hope some people can learn some lessons from this.  Unfortunately, little Bronte has to pay."

Golden Retriever Rescue is raising money to help cover the cost of Bronte's hip surgeries--which will be more than $7,000. 

If you'd like to help, click here.