Sheriff: 19 dogs removed from suspected puppy mill; owner charged is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Multiple "Min Pins" were found in a cage. Photo courtesy of the BCSO.
Multiple ‘min pins’ were found in a cage. Photo courtesy of the BCSO.

A Belville man has been charged in connection with operating a suspected puppy mill.

Animal protective services executed a search warrant in the 400 block of Glendale Drive at about 11 a.m. Thursday and found 19 miniature pinscher dogs in cages, according to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax.

“The animals were being kept in cages with multiple dogs in each cage,” Flax said. “The dogs were covered in feces. Some were without water or their water was filthy and contained feces and insects.”

The dogs were removed from the home and taken to Brunswick County Animal Protective Services to be assessed and receive care, Flax said.

The owner of the dog–66-year-old Clenton M. Howard–has been charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

Howard was reportedly breeding and selling the dogs, Flax said. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending. The dogs will remain in the care of animal protective services until the investigation is complete.