Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that the Kenneys, a family of prolific puppy traffickers, committed animal neglect and fraud by selling online fatally sick dogs to their customers. The Court prohibited the family from selling dogs and awarded $100,000 in punitive damages, $10,000 in emotional distress damages for each puppy sold to the purchasers, and compensatory damages for veterinary expenses. The Court found that the Kenneys’ scheme was “especially heinous” as the suffering of the puppies from illness resulting in death took an emotional toll on the families. 

Trina Kenney, Rick Kenney, and their adult children Elijah and Jezriel had neglected animals and defrauded consumers in Southern California by misrepresenting the health, age, sex, and breed of puppies they breed and sell through internet sites. The Court found that the evidence established that the puppies were kept in unsanitary conditions and sick at the time of sale. Trina Kenney was previously federally prosecuted and convicted of felony mail fraud for selling abused and sick horses.

The Court granted the injunction based in part on Corporations Code section 10404, a California law that gives the SPCA standing to sue in civil court to enjoin animal law violations. 

Christopher Berry, a Managing Attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said, “This decision sends a clear message that sellers will be held accountable when they engage in animal neglect and fraud. Unfortunately, this type of exploitive behaviour is common, and families wishing to avoid it should adopt from a shelter or rescue organization.”

Attorney Gary Praglin said, “The plaintiffs, who were harassed and intimidated by the defendants after spending weeks trying to save their sick and dying puppies, are grateful that justice has prevailed in this case and that the defendants can never again harm innocent puppies or families with their false advertising scheme.” 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.