NY dog breeder, cousin get jail time for shooting dogs


An Amish dog breeder in New York and his cousin who plead guilty to shoot eight puppies and their mother headed to jail last week for his actions.

Merlin Schmucker, 26, and his cousin, Jonathan Eicher, 19, were sentenced to 30 days in the Wayne County jail after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges, according to the Finger Lakes Times.

Town Justice Carol Heald also ruled that neither man could own a dog for 15 years.

The charges stemmed from a December incident where the bodies of eight Australian cattle dog puppies and their mother were found in a ditch in the rural town of Galen. Schmucker said he asked Eicher to shoot the dogs because he couldn't bring himself to do it.

(And neither man considered giving them to a shelter or rescue group?)

It made me think about what might have happened had Schmucker shot his dogs and dumped them in Pennsylvania.

Who can forget the 2008 massacre of 80 dogs by a Berks County dog breeder Elmer Zimmerman and his brother Ammon ?

The dogs, mostly poodles and shih tzus, and others of the fluffy lap pup variety, were shot to death in their cages because the Zimmermans refused to provide flea treatment as ordered by the dog warden.

Weeks later hundreds of animal lovers turned out for a vigil alongside Zimmerman's Kutztown cornfield. (One woman holding a candle turned to me that night and said she was a teacher and was there because she was concerned for his children.)

No cruelty charges were brought by Berks County district attorney John Adams - who also has refused to allow charges to be brought against pigeon shooters who routinely stomp and slam wounded birds to the ground and leave other injured birds to die slow deaths.

Court dockets do not even have any record of dog law violations being filed against the Zimmermans, despite indications on inspection reports prior to the July shooting that Elmer Zimmerman was to be cited for filthy and dangerous conditions before he shot his dogs.

That horrific event propelled the passage of the dog law two months later. Gov. Rendell ordered an amendment that forbid commercial dog breeders from using any method other than a veterinarian-applied injection to euthanize their dogs.

But it remains legal for anyone else to shoot their dogs.

So what if a Pennsylvania dog breeder - not a commercial kennel owner, perhaps a smaller kennel owner or an unlicensed kennel - shot his unsold puppies and their mother - or hired a hit man to do so - and threw them in a ditch?

If law enforcement chose to investigate, maybe they would be cited for littering.