New bad news kennel? Abuser's wife ordered to clean up, treat 10 sick dogs

One month after granting a kennel license to the wife of a Lancaster County man convicted of animal abuse, the state found glaring violations of the law and ordered them fixed.

Nancy Zimmerman, operator of Golden Acres Kennel in Narvon, was issued warnings on Oct. 26 for failing to clean debris, dirt, feces and insects in her kennel and failing to provide proper ventilation inside the ammonia-filled building where 125 dogs were housed.

In addition, veterinary exams, which were completed in 72 hours, were ordered on 10 dogs suffering from dental disease and apparent ear infections. Wardens ordered grooming be done on several dogs with excessive matting and dogs with overgrown toenails.

At least one warden, bureau of dog law enforcement director Lynn Diehl and state kennel veterinarian Danielle Ward were present during the inspection. The report says a follow up inspection will be conducted.

News that the state had issued a license in September to the wife of John Zimmerman, whose license  to operate Silver Hill Kennel on the same property had been revoked following his abuse conviction, sparked anger among animal welfare activists.

In an email response, the Department of Agriculture official in charge of dog law enforcement, Michael Pechart, said nothing in the law prevented the state from issuing Nancy Zimmerman a license, an argument disputed in letter signed by ten leading animal welfare organizations, which said the 2008 dog law was written specifically to preclude family members of animal abusers from obtaining a license, a maneuver used many times to evade the law in the past.

Federal and state inspection reports show that John Zimmerman - who once had nearly 500 dogs on his property adjacent to the Pennsylvania Turnpike - racked up numerous violations in the past decade including; improper sanitation, inadequately sized enclosures, and a lack of proper exercise and veterinary care.