Owner Of Sampson County Kennel Charged With Animal Cruelty

The owner of a Sampson County kennel has been arrested on multiple counts of animal cruelty. On October 20th, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint regarding the welfare of animals being cared for at Copper Kennel.

Animal Control officers said they visited Copper Kennel that same day and spoke with the owner Heather Stimson regarding the complaint. During the visit, the owner reportedly declined to allow Animal Control officers to view the animals under the care of Copper Kennel.

Following additional investigation, officers were able to obtain enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant for the property. On October 24th, the search warrant was executed. During the search, officers took custody of 15 canines and 2 felines. Authorities said the animals were not receiving proper care.

As a result of the search warrant and evidence located, Heather Stimson was taken into custody and charged with five counts of animal cruelty. She was later released by a magistrate on a $1,000 unsecured bond.

During the search warrant, officers noticed a large transport van, which had originally on the property, was now missing. Later, authorities received information the transport van had returned to Copper Kennel.

A second search warrant was executed and 10 additional canines, and two felines were located and seized. They reportedly showed signs of obvious neglect.

Heather Stimson was again taken into custody again and charged with two counts of animal cruelty and one count of obstructing and delaying an Investigation. Stimson was released on the additional charges on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said they seized Spanish Water Dog, Hungarian Pumi, and Lagotto Romagnolo breeds from Copper Kennel. The animals will be held pending the outcome of pending civil and criminal court proceedings.

Anyone who is in a contractual agreement for fostering animals for Copper Kennel are encouraged to contact Sergeant Jessica Byrd at 910-592-4141.


  1. Shame what happens to good preservation breeders. This breeder takes care of her dogs with the highest of standards. She competes her dogs in AKC events and helps mentor junior handlers in the sport. It’s a shame that the “person” who made false claims against this breeder was vindictive and has now cause this Breeder life dogs and reputation to be put on the line. None of these dogs were lacking proper care. Sampson county should focus on puppy mills before attacking preservation breeders who health test and breed for the betterment and overall health of the breeds. Sampson county STOP taking false claims and acting on them!

  2. Thank you OBDogs! I also know this breeder personally, as well as the vindictive individual who launched these completely false claims for reasons that can’t be discussed in public forum. She’s spent a huge part of her life since about 2012 with complete dedication to the preservation of some of these wonderful, ancient breeds. These dogs were not lacking for proper care. They were kept clean, in an environment that is common to what many breeders and shelters use. They were loved, their grooming was continually rotated, they were shown regularly in AKC events. There is no way that an animal could regularly compete and be successful in a show environment with many strangers, many strangers examining them had they been abused. I saw the article related to rotating officers due to lack of employees by the Sampson County sheriff. After one conversation it was obvious to me that leading officer has minimal knowledge of dog breeds, breeders, shows, etc., as opposed to a puppy mill. I would also venture to say that they were in much better condition physically and psychologically before they were taken into the possession of the Sampson County Animal Control facility.

  3. Dumb story from dumb people. I know her and she has cameras 24/7 on her facilities for the public to watch the dogs/puppies, she is 100% transparent with her customers adopting/fostering, she screens and is highly selective for who her customers/fosters are, she has a clean business record of MANY years, and she is AKC certified as one of the best breeders in the country. SHAME ON YOU for reporting this as you have.

  4. Agree, Michael Warren. I’ve also watched Heather’s cameras when litters were being whelped. She is 100% transparent and is highly selective. She had a clean inspection by the AKC a few months back and passed with flying colors. Absolutely SHAME on the hicksville reporting as if this breeder has already been convicted. The public should educate themselves and go back to the 2018 article published by the horrific care given to animals in the Salemburg animal shelter.

  5. Please.I bought a dog from this person when she was in Connecticut. When I picked up my puppy the condition of the inside of her home was disgusting. Cages were stacked and took up an entire wall in her living room and the kitchen was horrible and full of chemicals. The stench in the house was PISS. Not only did I purchase my dog I felt like I saved it. Two weeks into bringing my pup home he became very ill. He was in hospital for one week. I had to leave the breeders Facebook group due to her verbal diatribe rants which occurred on a regular basis. No judgement here this is fact.

    • AJ – maybe have the gumption and dignity to actually identify yourself after a statement like that – if you’re even an actual client of Copper Kennel.

    • I didn’t see any Facebook history like what you suggested so I suspect she is someone you simply don’t like.

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