A little serious, a little satire, and all opinion on animal welfare.
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Yesterday, a Dauphin County Magisterial Justice dismissed 83 cruelty charges associated with one of three remaining Pennsylvania pigeon shoots, filed by Humane Society Cruelty Officer Johnna Seeton.  The charges were dismissed despite no defense being offered by the defendants.  Few cases offer a better example of the need for legal and judicial reform in Pennsylvania.

 

I was not present for the case but I know Johnna Seeton.  However, I doubt she presented a vacuous case and failed to hit on the key points of law.  In fact, the key points of law should require a robust defense by the accused because they are so clear and so specific that they would mandate conviction unless a Justice or Judge chose to ignore or was ignorant of the law.

 

pigeons 2 whiteI will summarize this clear and unassailable case against pigeon shoots under Pennsylvania law.  It will be a long summary, since there is a lot involved with making the case for illegality or denying the case for legality. 

 

Doing nasty things to most animals (like shooting, stomping, cutting their heads off, leaving to suffer and die) is considered cruelty in Pennsylvania unless the activity is a legally protected activity.  If you have been proved to have done these things, it is the requirement of the defendant in the case to show why their action was among the protected activities.

 

There are four protections from a charge of cruelty.  They are: self-defense, normal agricultural activity, pest control and protection under Pennsylvania’s game code.

 

Let’s review some examples of how these protections would work.  There is clear video of you beating a dog to death with a baseball bat.  Barring any defense, you are guilty of cruelty.  However, if you were being attacked by that dog and you were defending yourself with the baseball bat which happened to be there, you are not guilty of cruelty under the self-defense protection.  Self-defense is rarely a defense because it generally quite clearly the case and would not be prosecuted.

 

Or, there is clear video of you shoving the head of a live domesticated turkey into a mechanical grinder.  With no defense, you would be guilty of cruelty.  However, if you were a turkey farmer fetching Sarah Palin her holiday meal, you would be not guilty under the normal agricultural practice protection.  “Normal agricultural practice” is a powerful but rarely used defense, primarily since few cases are brought against farmers for actual practices and the State Humane Society Police Officer training program spends a great deal of time demonstrating the difference between the unpleasant and the illegal in modern farming.

 

Or, there is clear video of you drowning a cage full of white rats.  With no defense, you should be found guilty of cruelty.  However, if you showed your pest control license and the contract to exterminate the colony of feral escaped lab rats, you would be not guilty of cruelty.  Because there is a clear contractual paper trail, pest control is rarely attempted as a defense in a real cruelty case.

 

Lastly, there is clear video of you shooting arrow after arrow into a turkey as it runs from you and slowly bleeds to death.  If you offered no defense, you are guilty of cruelty.  If you present your hunting license and say it was a wild turkey and you were just a terrible sportsmen, you are not guilty of cruelty under the game code protection.  But you should probably still practice a little more.

 

In all of these cases, if there is irrefutable evidence of you performing these acts and you present no defense, you should be convicted of cruelty.  Unless the Justice or Judge determines you somehow did not have the intent to commit an act of cruelty (maybe you were sleepwalking or had a brain tumor) or they simply ignore they law, you are guilty.

 

Which was the case in Dauphin?  Under the four protections from cruelty prosecution, self-defense seems clearly not to be the case. Kamikaze pigeons? No.  Normal agricultural practice?  They don’t eat them or farm them and shooting them while little boys stomp them into the ground seems an unusual form of slaughter, so, no.  Pest control?  This one is sometimes brought up as a validation of shoots so we should look at it.

 

Pigeons are viewed as pests by many in the city and on farms.  Pest control companies can, in fact, be contracted to remove pigeons and that may involve killing them.  However, shoots aren’t held at pigeon infested gun clubs which are merely trying to rid themselves of “flying rats”.  The birds used in shoots are trapped elsewhere, often from other cities and states, such as New York City.  Pest control may be a defense if New York City tried to file cruelty charges against those who trapped the pigeons there, but it is quite clearly not a defense by those who purchase the “pests” from the trappers to shoot here in Pennsylvania.  Pest control protection, out.

 

The one that most settle on is the protection under Pennsylvania Game Code. Most, including pigeon shoot booster and protector of all things involving bullets, the NRA, conflate Game Code protection with “sporting activity”.  They are not one and the same.  Dog and cock fights are “sport” to many.  They are also illegal and a claim of the proud and long heritage of blood sports in Pennsylvania- and there is a long, long tradition of blood sports in Pennsylvania- does not offer a legal defense of the activities.  Merely a shallow and immoral one.  Sorry, NRA.

 

Pennsylvania’s game code, and the regulations promulgated under it, provide clear and explicit rules for which animals may be killed, in what way, at what time, and by whom.  If I am in possession of a shot deer in June, it is considered prima facie evidence of a crime unless I can show that I shot it last November with a license and just pulled it from the freezer today.  The killing or taking of virtually every animal in Pennsylvania, from fish to amphibian to reptile to birds to mammals, is regulated.  Some have limits, some do not; but when they don’t, it’s clearly designated.  Hate starlings?  Go to town- it’s open season and there’s no limit!  It’s in writing!

 

The Pennsylvania bag limits defined by the PA Game Commission clearly outline which birds may be taken (pheasant, grouse, quail, turkey, crow, starling and English sparrow). The Game Commission clearly states that “Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird seasons will be established in accordance with Federal Regulations,” and pigeons are neither waterfowl nor migratory birds.  And most importantly, the Game Commission states there is, “No open season on other wild birds or mammals.” 

 

No open season on other wild birds.  That means they cannot be killed under protection of game code.

 

No pigeon shooter has ever pointed to the place in the game code or regulation which permits pigeons to be shot.  Therefore, based on the Game Commission’s own language, if it’s not explicitly permitted, there is no season on pigeons.  If they are wild birds, they may not be shot.  And if they are not wild birds, then normal cruelty law should obviously apply, just as it would for a chicken or a parakeet.

 

So, which is it?  Wild or not?  Which of the four defenses will be used if Game Code protection is not?  Self-defense? Pest control? Normal agricultural practice?  If pigeon shooters want these cases and this issue go away, simply point to the law that permits these shoots.

 

For these simple and explicit reasons, pigeon shoots are cruelty under current Pennsylvania law and have no protection under the exemptions to cruelty allowed under Pennsylvania law.  Pigeon shoots are illegal.  Period.

 

If Johnna made this case in court and no defense was offered, then the elected Justice made a willful decision to ignore the written law.  As importantly and shockingly, Johnna’s case was the first to be permitted to go to trial, since charges in other counties have been blocked by elected the District Attorney in the two other counties where shoots occur (Berks and Bucks).

 

This is why Pennsylvania needs immediate cruelty law and judicial reform.

 

(To be continued in part two…)

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On a professional level, my politics are all about the animal welfare mission I work for. I don’t care if it’s Republicans, Democrats, Greens or Tea Party, if they are behind good, smart animal welfare policy and legislation, I’m behind them.

But I’ll let you in a little secret. On a personal level, I’m generally one or those Liberals or Progressives, or whatever we’ve decided is the non-wimp name for ourselves this year. I know, shocking, right?

There is one area in which I have found myself in disagreement with those who share my personal political views and it is a result of the practical application of my work for animal welfare policy and legislation. That disagreement is over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and campaign finance reform generally.

In a nutshell, the Citizens United case said that money was speech and that a corporation or coalition of funders had the same right to speech as the individual, without limits that would not apply to an individual. Effectively, a corporation has ”personhood”.

OK, that last part goes a bit far for me, unless they also have the same obligations as a person and when the “corporate person” breaks the law they are locked up from doing business like a real person would be. I think if BP was found guilty of negligence, thrown in jail- i.e. shut down for three to five years while serving its sentence- and had to return to the marketplace as an ex-con to try to get work like a “real person”, all the Progressives out there might just accept the “corporate person” concept. But I digress.

The reason I actually agree with the bulk of the decision is that animal welfare groups like the HSBC, funded by thousands of like-minded individuals, are exactly who are protected by this ruling, along with all those nasty big businesses and sham grassroots organizations formed by a handful of billionaires.

When we disseminate our views on issues of animal welfare, we do it with the combined authority, combined support and combined money of about ten thousand people. These people agree with our agenda and have chosen to support us in a variety of ways, ranging from services, to volunteerism, to giving us their hard earned money.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation (a tax-deductible charity), we have specific limits on what we can say and do. We cannot oppose or endorse candidates for elected office. Which is fine with us.

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Me (right) at 2010 Walk with US Rep. Jim Gerlach (R, center) and then PA Rep. David Kessler. Gerlach has been a strong sponsor of the Federal PUPS Act and Kessler was a champion of the 2008 Puppy Mill Law. Both addressed the Walkers.

Our goal is not to elect or defeat any specific candidate. It’s to encourage each party to choose to run animal welfare friendly candidates generally, as was the case in the recent Berks special Senate election when both major parties ran identically excellent candidates when it came to animal welfare issues. Our goal is to convince every office holder to make the right decision on animal welfare and to admonish them when they do not. Just as we have done with both Democratic former Governor Rendell and current Republican Governor Corbett as both weakened the Puppy Mill Law we all worked so hard to pass in 2008. And that is why we praise anyone of any party for doing the right thing for animals and why we invite every elected official from any party to join us in our work and at our events. We bend over backwards to make this about our organizational issues, not our personal views.

We lobby hard for important legislation which will make the animals, people, communities and even corporations safer in Pennsylvania. We mobilize our supporters to do the same. We do this because we know that good laws make our work easier and our world better. Without them we would be perpetually bailing water from a leaky boat instead of patching it.

If we tell loathsome billionaires, business consortiums, unions, for-profit corporations, pick your most distrusted group, that they cannot spend freely to say what they want to say, someone will come along and tell the Humane Society of Berks County that we can’t either.

Someone opposed to us and our work will say that we’re not allowed to campaign to ensure better kennel conditions and that identifying the failings of individuals employed by our State government to do that job is out of bounds political speech. They will tell us we can’t identify the office holders who have flip flopped on issues like the pigeon shoot ban because that is out of bounds political speech. They will tell us that we can’t tell you the positions of candidates on important animal welfare issues because that is out of bounds political speech.

And they would not silence just the Humane Society of Berks County. They would actually be silencing those ten thousand supporters who rely on us to be their voice on animal welfare issues. The ones who have jobs and don’t have the time to do this day in and day out. The ones who aren’t billionaires. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a voice. Ironically, for them and the HSBC, Citizens United protected that voice.

There is plenty to oppose and I can see where even my argument for it throws a few babies out with the bath water. But for those who do oppose it, remind yourself of who raised the most money in campaign funds, from the most individuals, and in the smallest average amounts, in history. It was not the candidate and the party my Progressive friends associate with “big business”.

Take a lesson away from that. If you want your agenda heard, if you want your issue promoted, if you want to choose who speaks for you and your beliefs- put your money where your mouth is. If you want that speech, do what the Koch brothers and the NEA do: buy it.

If you want good animal welfare laws, support organizations like HSBC who work to get them passed. If you want strong animal welfare candidates, support the Political Action Committees (PACs) who are allowed to endorse and oppose candidates. If you don’t want these things (I know there are a few lurking NRA/Farm lobby folks who are reading and would prefer regressive laws and candidates), you spend your money as you see fit to make the speech you think should be heard.

The town square has gotten huge. It takes a bigger megaphone and that costs money. If you really care about furthering the agenda you say is so important to you, don’t complain about who is doing it better. Take out your check book and match them- dollar for dollar.

Like the t-shirt says, freedom isn’t free.

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Apparently, getting our money as taxes wasn’t enough.  Now the government would like it to be a “donation”.  At least that’s what Delaware County’s plan for a “faux” non-profit animal control center sounds like.

Rather than bring in help from a region with real, high-quality governmental animal care and control or contract with a real charitable organization with decades of experience sheltering animals, Delaware County municipalities have decided to jump right in to the animal control and care business directly.  Well, sort of directly.  They plan to create a “non-profit” organization with a board of directors of appointed municipal officials.

Um, isn’t an organization made up of appointed government officials just the government?  And isn’t the government already non-profit?  Wait, maybe it’s the one citizen representative to be appointed to the board that makes this anything other than what it clearly is, a government service consortium, similar to a multi-municipality police department.  Actually, it’s exactly like that since “animal control” officers and agencies have police powers under the PA Dog Law.

So if it’s just a new government services consortium, why all the high-fiving about this great new “non-profit”?

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing The Wolf in Sheeps ClothingBecause those who have created it want us to think it is something other than what it is: a new government pound.  As a “non-profit” with a citizen representative on its board, it’s kind of pound light.  Let’s be real: the municipalities don’t have and never have had the best interests of the animals first and center.  Why should they?  Dogs don’t vote or pay taxes.  Sure, some care about animals but what they really need is a place to dump their strays and this new “faux charity” fits the bill.

Unfortunately for them, the real charity which used to do the job, Delaware County SPCA, dropped out of the catch and euthanize business.  The couple of well-meaning charities (real charities) who the County spoke to proved woefully unprepared and inexperienced.  The (at least) two other real charities with the skill, experience and willingness to negotiate with the County, Main Line Animal Rescue and Humane Society of Berks County, had their hands unceremoniously slapped away once extended.

Why?  Because a real charity, whose mission will require that the welfare of the animals be put first, makes for a messy partner.  We would expect things like partnering on aggressive licensing initiatives, drafting smart and effective animal ordinances which will stem the tide of animals, demand action on feline issues, insist on proper veterinary care- not the legal minimum veterinary care but proper veterinary care,  we’d want to sterilize animals prior to adoption.  Hell, we’d even make adoption the actual priority!

But that stuff is just a hassle when your real goal is to get animals off the streets, into cages and into an incinerator ASAP to drive down costs.

The real drive behind this new “charity” is to save as much money as possible.  It doesn’t matter that the plan HSBC put forth would have been affordable and reasonable.  The politicians see a way to get it even cheaper and under their complete control.  They also see a highlight which serves other political agendas right now.  They see a way to staff this endeavor without the unions, benefits and collective bargaining they face in their own municipalities.

They can have their cake and eat it to, served by non-union waiters, of course.

To be fair, one of the points I made in the HSBC Comprehensive Plan for Animal Control Service Reform was the savings from having private sector, lower overhead employees contracted via a charity providing the service.  However, once again, the difference is that these are real charities, not some fake staffing artifice created to save tax dollars by way of a pretend “privatization”.

There were better, even good, ways to  move forward.  They had options.  Options which would have saved animals lives’.  They chose this path instead.

This plan is a farce.  It has enough of the trappings of a real plan that they hope will pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.  And they know that real charities like HSBC will be there to accept homeless pets from them to adopt through real adoption programs (although I’m guessing that may be another non-returned phone call, too, after this blog).  They’ll get a couple nice articles out via their tax payer funded PR staff showing happy reunions, nice adoptions, maybe a sick dog helped.

But just you wait, after all the whining about Delaware County SPCA, soon it will be the municipal officials packing that new board who will be whining about how hard the job is, how they need community support, how they need donations- donations!- to do a better job.  They will be the ones apologizing for euthanizing so many animals, euthanizing the wrong animals, not providing required medical care, fighting against publishing their intake and outgoing statistics.

Then they’ll be just like a lot of bad charities after all.  But they’ll still just be the government.

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I want to give Tom Corbett the benefit of the doubt.  After all, he was strong on enforcing PA’s puppy lemon law.  Of course, helping a sick puppy is just below mom, kissing babies, and apple pie on the “Controvers-O-Meter”.  But maybe he really has a soft spot for dogs in his heart and he wasn’t just pandering to the millions of dog owner voters before a gubernatorial run.

Corbett likes to talk about “shared sacrifice”.  His budget slashes education funding, takes a hard line on raising taxes, saves money for a rainy day, and cuts governmental administrative spending.  An unjaundiced eye might see a commitment to making the necessary hard decision in tough times.

The more jaded note that his education cuts will impact poor students ten times more than wealthier students.  They might note that his line in the sand on natural gas severance taxes leaves us the only gas drilling state in the nation with no gas tax.  Even Texas has a severance tax.  They might question why he calls for half a billion to go in a “rainy day fund” while teachers are volunteering salary freezes and students still face decreased educational services.  Or why, after campaigning against bloated government and too many government fleet vehicles, he spent $186,000 of tax payer funds on new SUV’s for himself and his staff. 

Some might question these things, but not me.  I’m a clear eyed optimist.  Besides, in my job I’m just here to talk about animals.  All I want to know is what he’s going to do for the dogs.  And with July 1, the date that puppy mill compliance waivers are set to expire and the full force of the Puppy Mill Law is to begin, I’ve been wondering quite a bit what  Corbett leadership in animal welfare will look like

It’s not looking too good.

No matter what you want to say about the Rendell bosses in the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (BDLE), they were better than the old bosses.  They may have been ill equipped to lead, generally untrustworthy, and politically despotic but, believe me, that was an improvement.  Thanks to the Puppy Mill Law, Oprah, and Main Line Animal Rescue’s delightfully vicious billboard campaigns (and maybe a little nudging from people like you and me), they were forced to make improvements.  Even if it seemed against their wishes at times.

Even after Corbett bounced Sue West, BDLE director and I believe genuinely well intentioned if ineffective, from her job, I held out hope. 

When I heard that former Corbett A.G. office employee and Rendell appointed “Dog Law Czar” had been moved off her thrown, I was- OK, I’ll admit it, I giggled (The woman reminded me of J.K. Rowling’s Delores Umbrage and I thought I’d scream if I asked her for another policy clarification and received a PDF of the complete dog law to read as a response.) 

When I heard that Mary Bender, former BDLE director from the “good old days” of blind eye inspections and outright threats of retaliation against animal shelters for speaking out against abuses, was to be promoted to a senior Agriculture policy position, I was concerned.

And when it was announced that Corbett had downgraded the “Bureau” to an “Office”, made it report to an Assistant Secretary and not the Secretary of Agriculture, and placed a former bank manager with no professional animal back ground in charge of the new Office, I was shocked.

Then, when Corbett was asked whether puppy farmers would have their kennels held up to the new legal standards to go into effect on July 1 and if the “waivers” the puppy farmers had used to wait out the clock would be revoked, and he said, “We’re in a tough economy now. A lot of these kennel regulations are not cheap. For those making that good-faith effort and want to be in compliance but are struggling to do so, we are going to help them be in compliance,” all I could do was ask, “WTF?” 

Our dog loving, tough on puppy lemon dealers, former chief law officer wants to help puppy farmers, who have had three years to make the changes required by a law passed in a 96% landslide, “be in compliance”.  I thought the way to be in compliance was to do what the law said you had to do.  These are not regulations after all, they are the law.  Not complying doesn’t make you a Steinbeckian, Dust Bowl, down-on-your-luck, farmer.  Not complying makes you a criminal.  And he wants to “help” them?

And then all those jaundiced charges came flooding back to me.  Maybe shared sacrifice really does mean the weak and the powerless will just get the biggest share of the sacrifice.  Children, public employees, dogs- you get to get an inadequate education, drive old cars and lose your jobs, and spend your entire lives standing on wire flooring in sweltering or freezing temperatures.  Gas drillers, Governor’s staff, and puppy farmers- you get to take every penny you make taking our natural resources to your home state, you get shiny new gas guzzling SUV’s, and you get to torment more dogs to earn your blood money (we probably won’t even check to see if you collected sales tax- we hate those nasty taxes.)

I try to be an optimist, I really do.  However, I can’t help but think if Tom Corbett will cut education, lay off government employees, refuse a tax every other state has that could help avoid those things, and buy himself new cars while he’s at it, the dogs of Pennsylvania won’t stand much of a chance.  We’ve heard, “trust us” too many times.  I don’t want to trust anyone to enforce the Dog Law any more.  I want them to show me the enforcement.  Looking at the priorities of this administration, The pessimist in me thinks it will be a long wait.  The optimist in me hopes I’m wrong.

I have a suggestion.  Maybe every school facing cuts and every animal shelter taking in broken and sick puppy mill dogs should drop a natural gas well in its playground or kennel.  Maybe then our “share” of the sacrifice might be a little more to our liking.

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“This could be a model program for other counties that have the same problem,” [Civera] said.

This is how Mario Civera described Delaware County’s “new” plan to create a County owned animal control facility to be run by a non-profit which would allow greater access and humane care for a more affordable price to government.

When I read this, I thought, “What a great idea!  I wish I had thought of that!”  Then I thought, “Hey, this sounds very familiar.  I think I did think of that!”

The HSBC offered “a new, replicable and scalable model for animal control in Pennsylvania” on November 15, 2010 that is eerily similar to the “groundbreaking, new” model Delaware County has come up with!  We called it A Modest Proposal.  Thanks to blog tracking software we could see it was getting fairly steady traffic since then, which was the intention since we were offering it up to get the discussion going.

Hamburger, McDonaldsThere has been a lot of rewriting of history in DelCo about the animal control mess.  Some claim the DCSPCA dropped contracts with no notice, but a simple Google search shows that they gave a full year’s “official” notice and had been warning of it for at least a year before that.  Some say there were no credible offers of animal control service following the contract drop, but a simple Google search shows that Bill Smith of Mainline Animal Rescue, one of the best known, funded and run shelters in the nation, offered to provide stray intake within weeks of the DCSPCA’s announcement of contracts being dropped.

One thing a Google search will not show is that the Humane Society of Berks County reached out to Civera and the Delaware County Executive on April 6 of this year and offered to discuss our Modest Proposal for animal control services.  DelCo even got back to us saying that, “…Councilman Civera intends to contact you.”  But we heard nothing.  Until we heard about this great new idea they had for a groundbreaking model to handle animal control in Pennsylvania.  Wow, that is a coincidence and a half.  Funny.

Unfortunately, the “new” idea they have suffers from some flaws, like the lack of addressing the long-term funding stream, the fact that people who know nothing about animal sheltering seem to be designing the the animal control facility, and that all this “original” thinking wasted a bunch of time that will still leave them without service for some period while they get things together.  Our Modest Proposal would have addressed these things and more.  Charles Churchill said something about pilfered plans made worse.

Now I know this is all for the animals and that when we have a good idea we want to share it.  It’s not about who does it or who thinks of it, it’s about who gets it done for the animals.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”  I’m no Abraham Lincoln.  I get irked by things like this.

The timing of this new idea seems a tad suspect and as glad as I am that they are inching their way to a solution, I can’t help but wonder if maybe a nod of recognition to the Humane Society of Berks County might have been called for.  Oh well, I’m sure whoever gets the award for this groundbreaking new model will remember to thank us in their acceptance speech. 

“Half of the people can be part right all of the time, some of the people can be all right part of the time, but all of the people can’t be all right all of the time. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.” I said that.”

That doesn’t have anything to do with any of this, I just like that quote.  Bob Dylan said it.  See?  A little attribution is easy.

6.14.11 Funny postscript from article in today’s Delco Times: “Though Civera said he has been in talks with several area animal welfare organizations, as of Monday, the county still lacks an organization to run the facility.”

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By: Jenny Stephens, North Penn Puppy Mill Watch

Solid flooring, ventilation, temperature controls…. think that’s what’s REALLY going on in Pennsylvania’s commercial breeding kennels? Think again.

Puppy mill advocate Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue is, once again, circulating comments from the PA Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement inspection report data base and I say “once again” not because this is an annoyance but because it is no longer shocking to realize that the Bureau DOES NOT ENFORCE THE LAW.

In January of this year dog wardens performed an inspection at Turkey Hill kennel, located in East Earl, Lancaster County, PA. The kennel was noted to be housing 364 dogs at the time. The warden notes on the report:

“Wardens observed a strong presence of ammonia from the adult dog building upon entering the area where the dogs were being housed, this odor was so strong making it hard to breathe and causing our eyes to burn that wardens walked out and retrieved respirator masks from our vehicles so we could proceed with the inspection.”

And if that’s not bad enough, the kennel, although cited (although we’re not quite sure for what because as time has gone by, the information on the inspection reports continues to become more and more vague – almost in an attempt to protect the kennel operator – was also noted to have frozen water bowls…. hey – weren’t these kennels supposed to be kept at a toasty 50 degrees?

In March, 2011 the wardens return and, guess what? Same problem! The warden noted the following on the inspection report:

“Wardens observed a strong presence of ammonia emanating from the adult dog building upon entering the area where the dogs were being house(d). This odor was so strong that it made it hard to breathe inside the kennel causing wardens to wear respirator masks to proceed with the inspection.”

Gasping for air. Can you imagine? But even with that aside, other comments in the report are also disconcerting: legs falling through wire flooring, no unfettered access to outdoor runs, dirty food containers, accumulation of food waste, hair, cobwebs, dust and debris, rodent droppings, dental disease, eye and ear infections…. Did we really pass a new law in 2008 or was that a trick with smoke and mirrors?

And what’s happening there today… in the ninety degree heat?

Why weren’t humane officers contacted? Wouldn’t these conditions be considered animal cruelty? And why is this kennel still open and operating? Who in Harrisburg is protecting the kennels who are not complying with the new law? Why is this still happening?

Didn’t Special Secretary of Agriculture Jessie Smith go to great lengths to announce to the local and national media that Pennsylvania no longer has a problem with puppy mills and that the new law solved ALL of these problems?

PLEASE send an email and/or pick up the phone and demand some answers.

Secretary of Agriculture George Greig ggreig@state.pa.us 717-787-4626
Special Secretary of Agriculture Jessie Smith jlsmith@state.pa.us 717-214-3447

Read the inspection reports: 2011 – Click HERE 2010 – Click HERE 2009 – Click HERE USDA – Click HERE

So much for the new law passed in 2008….

Visit Us Online: nppmwatch.com

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