NY kennel owner pleads guilty to illegally gassing 74 dogs

An Amish kennel owner in New York Friday pleaded guilty to illegally gassing 74 dogs.

David Yoder, 45, of Romulus, was fined a total of $505 - considerably less than the cost of one of his puppies in a pet store.

The Seneca County Sheriff's Office charged Yoder with 74 counts of inhumane destruction of dogs. Under New York law gassing is illegal and euthanasia must be performed by a licensed veterinarian. An initial report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture said he had killed 94 dogs.

Yoder told USDA inspectors that he killed the dogs using carbon monoxide emissions from a gas-powered engine in July to "depopulate" his kennel following a disease outbreak. The sheriff's report said Yoder thought the method was more humane than injection - the universally approved method of veterinarians.

Another 10 dogs were euthanized by a local veterinarian. There was evidence of a Brucellosis in the kennel but that Yoder never tested the dogs so it was unclear how many were infected.

According to the sheriff's report, Yoder thought destroying the dogs was a more humane way of depopulating his kennel than other means, such as injection.

The USDA's investigation is ongoing.

The sheriff's office says the Yoder family has received hate mail and numerous death threats since news of the killings was made public, according to published news reports.