Kennel worker charged with faking health certificates for puppies

  • Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:52 a.m.

SALISBURY — A 17-year-old woman who helps run a Salisbury dog kennel specializing in wolf hybrids faces three felony charges related to fake health certificates for puppies.

Danielle Nicole Settineri is charged with three counts of obtaining property by false pretense. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said Settineri, who runs the Right Puppy Kennel on Old Union Church Road with her father, shipped puppies with falsified health certificates to customers.

Although Kevin Settineri is listed on the kennel’s website as sales manager, founder and president, authorities charged his daughter because her name is on the altered documents, Detective Christine Wood said. Danielle Settineri is listed as coordination manager, co-founder and administrative support.

When reached by the Post Saturday, Kevin Settineri said his daughter is a minor and would not comment on the charges.

In North Carolina, youth ages 16 and 17 are viewed by the law as adults.

Danielle Settineri was arrested Saturday and release on a written promise to appear in court Monday.

The kennel obtained a legitimate certificate of health examination for one dog and then altered it for several others, Wood said. Health certificates are required for air shipping animals.

Three fake certificates list veterinary hospitals in Lenoir and Mooresville, Wood said.

When the veterinarians in Lenoir and Mooresville received calls from out-of-state vets questioning the health certificates of Right Puppy Kennel dogs, the North Carolina vets reported the incidents to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wood said.

In one case, a customer in Illinois purchased what he thought was a husky mix from Right Puppy, Wood said. But when a vet examined the dog, the vet determined the animal was a wolf hybrid, which she said is illegal in Illinois.

State health officials also were involved in the investigation, Wood said.

The incidents occurred on June 30, Nov. 20 and Aug. 29.

The kennel remains open and is expanding with new construction, Wood said. She said during an interview, the Settineris told her veterinarians charge too much to issue the health certificates.

In 2011, a veterinarian in Lenoir received a call from a clinic in Miami Beach, Fla., where a customer had brought in a sick puppy purchased from Right Puppy, Wood said. The puppy’s health certificate appeared to have been issued by the Lenoir vet.

But after checking his records, the Lenoir vet told authorities he had not issued the certificate. His attorney sent Right Puppy a cease and desist order, Wood said.

The Better Business Bureau website gives Right Puppy Kennel an “F” and lists 10 complaints against the business in the last three years.

A Google search for the kennel turns up multiple complaints about the business.

The Raleigh News and Observer reported in 2010 that Kevin Settineri provided a wolf hybrid to N.C. State University for a one-game tryout as a mascot. University officials received emails accusing Settineri of poor breeding practices, the News and Observer reported, and ended the trial.

At the time, an athletics official declined to say whether the puppy mill accusations affected the decision. Settineri told the newspaper the accusations cost him the mascot deal, which would have been great publicity.

The complaints, he said, came from people affiliated with a competitor. He added that his kennel had been inspected repeatedly by the American Kennel Club and Rowan County Animal Control.

Rowan animal control officer Thomas Staton told the News and Observer in 2010 that officers had found nothing wrong in several visits. “He’s got a lot of animals, but he takes care of them,” Staton said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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