Man accused of being part of puppy mill says state is wrong

Alleged First Coast puppy mill was shut down.

JACKSONVILLE, FL-- On Tuesday, Anthony Roque was served with an injunction to stop selling and breeding English bulldogs.

"I was surprised," said Rogue. "I am not running a puppy mill."

Related: Florida shuts down Jacksonville puppy mill

Roque said he got involved to help his son, Brook Roque, who the attorney general said is the main principal in a puppy mill operation.

The Attorney General in a lawsuit states Brook Roque, Kassaundra Buttran, Michelle Echols, and Anthony and Glenda Roque were part of an operation that sold puppies out of multiple locations.

Investigators say over a five year period Brook Roque sold 700 English Bulldogs for $1500 to $2300 each.

In its complaint the state alleges the defendant bred dogs with 10 other breeders and illegally imported five week old puppies from Colombia.

The state says the dogs were advertised as having valid health certificates when they did not.

Anthony Roque is upset that he and his wife have been named in the state's lawsuit.

"This is my and my wife's private home we do not run any puppy mills here," he said.

Standing in his garage he said he's frustrated because much of the information in the AG's complaint is related to something that may have happened years ago.

He said the state claims his son earned more than one million dollars.

"He doesn't have a dime," he said.

Roque said he was helping his son when he and his wife decided to keep one of the dogs. He said that dog produced two litters of puppies within an 18 month period.

"We were two parents helping our child," he said. "No one can come up here a said they saw a puppy mill."

He said now he has to spend money to as to defend his name against what he calls frivolous charges.

"You can go around this city and this nation and people will speak to my integrity," he said.

Professional dog breeders hate puppy mills; they give the industry a bad name.

"It is disturbing because we do this for the love of the breed," said Thomas Denmark.

Thomas and Heather Denmark operate Legends of Denmark.

For the past eight years they have bred and sold English Bulldogs and they say they take it seriously. They have some advice to help people avoid puppy mills.

"You want to do research on the breeder," said Thomas Denmark.

Also, ask to see the parents of the puppy you're buying.

"If you're talking to a breeder and you're asking a question and the story changes a bunch it is probably something you want to stay away from," he said.

Then verify the breed before you buy through proper registration papers.

"I wouldn't buy any dog without AKC papers," said Heather Denmark. "You need to always show the pedigree of the dog and the mom and the dad."

Finally, be sure to get a valid health certificate, which is required by law.

"A breeder should never be hands off if they are,they're probably trying to hid something," said Thomas Denmark.


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