State cites first former licensed kennel under new dog law

CLARIFICATION - Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement spokesman Justin Fleming called to remind me that while state dog wardens do not have open access to a kennel property once a license is given up, they do, as exemplified in the case below, have the ability to enter a property after obtaining a warrant. Anyone with information about an unlicensed kennel or other kennel-related issue should call 1-877-DOG-TIP1. (1-877-364-8701) or submit a complaint through the Department of Agriculture website:

The state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has issued its first citation against a breeder gave up his license rather than comply with the new dog law but continued to operate a kennel.

Dog wardens cited Paul S. Ebersole, of Chambersburg, for illegally operating a kennel without a license and other misdemeanors.

Sunset Kennel closed on Dec. 31, 2009 after Ebersole chose not to comply with the provisions of the new Dog Law that took effect on Oct. 9, the bureau said. At the closing inspection dog warden Georgia Martin noted he had 23 dogs on the property, 22 adults and one puppy.

The law requires anyone having more than 25 dogs in a year to acquire a kennel license from the bureau.

On June 23, a search warrant executed by Martin showed 40 dogs on Ebersole’s property.

“This case is disappointing since Mr. Ebersole led us to believe he would close his kennel rather than seeking a license in 2010,” said Jessie Smith, special deputy secretary for the bureau.  She said her office will continue to remain vigilant in following up on previously licensed kennels.

The incident, however, exposes wide loopholes in the law: such as the fact that anyone can possess 25 unspayed and unneutered dogs before getting a license. How long would that take for somone intent on breeding to go over 25?

In Ebersole's case, wardens removed a number of dogs and sent them to a local rescue to bring him below the 25 dog limit. How often can wardens keep going back and removing dogs to bring a kennel operator in compliance and stressing the resources of local rescues?

Dog wardens also have no authority to enter a kennel property once the license has been forfeited. It is unclear how dog wardens were able to determine Ebersole had 40 dogs.

Ebersole is also facing charges of failing to keep his kennel in sanitary and humane conditions because of sharp edges found throughout the facility and the accumulation of debris and waste matter along the cages. There were also no records for some dogs that were there.

In the past two years Ebersole has owned as many as 96 dogs at one time. On Oct. 30, 2009, Ebersole was cited after wardens found dogs standing in puddles of urine, and dogs housed in cages that were so small they could not comfortably stand or lie down. A 2006 inspection notes that "dog houses must be provided for dogs." That same year Ebersole pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to keep a kennel in a safe and humane condition.