Couple named ‘breeder of year’ face animal cruelty charge

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire couple honored as a “Breeder of the Year” by the American Kennel Club faces an animal cruelty charge.

Police in Durham say 18 cocker spaniels were seized from owners Bonnie and Wilson Pike, of Durham. Deputy Police Chief Rene Kelley tells the dogs showed signs of neglect, but no physical abuse.

The Pikes have been breeding cocker spaniels at their home for decades for their business, Silverhall Cocker Spaniels. The Pikes were honored as the 2018 Breeders of the Year in the Sporting Group category.

The American Kennel Club said the couple has bred 250 champions and were inducted into the American Cocker Spaniel Hall of Fame.

Bonnie Pike called the charge and seizure devastating. She said she and her husband “take wonderful care of our dogs.”

They are scheduled for arraignment April 10.

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