Crime - Sacto 911

Puppy broker sentenced after selling sick and malnourished dogs through internet

Website of La Chic Puppy Boutique, one of the online businesses run by Ginger Turk, a former El Dorado Hills resident. She has been convicted of felony animal cruelty and sentenced to one year in jail.
Website of La Chic Puppy Boutique, one of the online businesses run by Ginger Turk, a former El Dorado Hills resident. She has been convicted of felony animal cruelty and sentenced to one year in jail.

A Sacramento-area woman has been sentenced to one year in jail after running online “teacup” puppy businesses that sold malnourished tiny dogs across the country for thousands of dollars.

Ginger Turk, 46, was sentenced Friday in El Dorado Superior Court for felony animal cruelty, operating without a license and 11 other counts related to selling puppies from South Korea, according to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office. Turk is listed as a former El Dorado Hills resident who previously lived elsewhere in Sacramento and El Dorado counties.

She sold “tiny, underaged, un-weaned, high-priced ($4,000+) puppies from South Korea online and in person,” according to a joint statement Monday from prosecutors and the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency. Her businesses included Teacup Puppy Couture, La Chic Puppy Boutique and Beverly Hills Teacups.

A website for La Chic Puppy Boutique says it sold “teacup” puppies, a term used for particularly tiny dogs below the standard weight for their breed, according to the website Daily Dog Discoveries. The American Kennel Club does not endorse such dogs, according to its website.

Besides her one-year sentence, Turk is banned from selling, possessing, transporting or importing dogs for at least a decade. She must also pay restitution for the investigation and other penalties.

Attempts to reach Turk on Monday at phone numbers listed for her businesses were unsuccessful. She is required to report to the El Dorado County Jail on Jan. 13.

Turk’s sentence stemmed from a felony probation search of her El Dorado Hills home in May 2014, according to the DA’s Office. In that instance, animal services officers and sheriff’s deputies found puppies imported from South Korea living in poor conditions, such as “small plexiglass cages in a laundry room that lacked proper ventilation, with a strong smell of feces and urine permeating the room.”

At the time, she had been on probation after being convicted in Sacramento Superior Court in 2012 of felony charges related to forging a Folsom veterinarian’s signature on a puppy’s health documents. That dog died of parvovirus days after being bought online from Turk.

The case landed her on the Humane Society of the United States’ “101 Puppy Mills” list in 2014.

Kevin Yamamura: 916-326-5548, @kyamamura

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