Dog docket 4/1


Nearly two years after she fled the state leaving behind five sick dogs and the carcasses of 21 others in her filthy Sullivan County kennel, Laura Antretter (aka Lauren Wolfe) was finally convicted and sentenced on animal cruelty charges.

Antretter, owner of the defunct Autumnbriar kennel, was sentenced to a year probation on two counts of animal cruelty and two counts of dog law violations (reduced from the original 106 filed) by a Sullivan County judge in January. She also was ordered to pay $31,000 in restitution to the Luzerne County SPCA which cared for the five surviving dogs.

But it's not over yet. Antretter is challenging the restitution and is scheduled to appear again in Sullivan County court April 15 for a hearing on the matter, said Sullivan County district attorney, Leonard Simpson.

Humane officers and dog wardens raided Antretter's kennel in February 2009 and found emaciated animals living in waste amid the bodies of dozens of dead animals, including a female dog and her puppies, a cat, a goat and hamsters. Police issued a warrant for her arrest after she fled with a number of dogs. Antretter who bred a rare sighthound cross known as lurchers and Jack Russell terriers, had her kennel license revoked by the state in 2008 due to multiple sanitation and other violations.

When asked if he was satisified with the results, Simpson said that perhaps the legislature needs to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty. "It is frustrating," he said. "You put a huge amount of time into it and you wonder if it's worth it."

A Franklin County judge on Tuesday upheld cruelty charges against Ralph and Susan Fries for failing to get medical treatment for their Siberian Huskies and for keeping them in squalor. The couple refused to surrender the dogs during their appeal of the cruelty charges, straining the resources of the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter west of Harrisburg. The shelter is seeking $20,000 in restitution for vet care, food and other expenses.

"The Fries have not surrendered the dogs, so we can't adopt them out or send them to Siberian Husky rescue until sentencing. For the sake of the dogs, all of us want this case to be resolved," said Nancy Gardner, president of the CVAS board. The dogs have been living in the shelter for a year. The Fries will be sentenced in May.

Last year the shelter spent thousands feeding and providing medical treatment for 80 badly neglected farm animals - mostly goats - owned by the same couple. The Fries' also were convicted in the farm animal case, but the judge did not order restitution.

More on the shooting of two pet pit bulls by police in Harrisburg. Their owner believes they'd still be alive if Harrisburg Humane Society had taken them in. The city says they were shot because they were a menace to public safety, not because the city had yet to finalize its contract with the humane society for animal control. The Patriot-News has the latest here and below.

A Great Dane breeder in Armstrong County is scheduled to appear in court next month on animal cruelty charges, while her nine rescued dogs are recovering in foster homes. 

Humane officers seized the starving, near-dead Great Danes earlier this month. Three other dogs were found dead. "The dogs are exceptionally well and they’re all gaining weight," said Penny Dewoehrel, president, humane officer and cruelty investigator for All American Ponies Inc., told the Leader-Times.

The dogs' owner, Barbara L. Grey, 50, will face charges that she willfully withheld food, water and veterinary care to the dogs.

Farm animal protection advocates are disturbed that the Humane Society of Lebanon Valley decided not to file cruelty charges against the operators of a livestock auction where hungry calves were found in a pen without food or water.

Thirteen frightened calves discovered by a Maryland woman at the Lebanon Valley Livestock Auction in Fredericksburg among the remains of deceased animals were determined earlier this month to be on a “strict diet” and not the victims of cruelty. (More here)

Kevin Gonzalez, a humane officer, said that ‘everything fell under standard agricultural practices for the state of Pennsylvania,’ and therefore no cruelty charges will be filed

Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, called the case further evidence that "cruelty is the norm in today's livestock industry."

 “Citizens are appalled when they find out about the inhumane conditions and intolerable suffering animals are subjected to at stockyards and on today’s modern industrial farms," said Baur. "They are shocked to learn that farm animals are excluded from the federal Animal Welfare Act and from many state anti-cruelty laws, and when they’ve had the opportunity to vote on initiatives that would prohibit some of the industry’s worst abuses, they have overwhelmingly supported these measures."

“This incident reminds us that laws need to be changed to more accurately reflect societal values and to prevent the egregious suffering of animals exploited by the food industry. Like all animals, farm animals have feelings, and they deserve to be treated with respect.”