Sunday Wag June 27

Sorry folks, Philly Dawg took a quick vacation to the Green Mountains of Vermont. She's back now to steamy central Pennsylvania with the following news updates:

It was pushing 90 degrees in the shade today in Lancaster County, do you wonder how the dogs in Pennsylvania kennels - many living in hot barns or outdoor hutches - are feeling? So do we. With the two-year anniversary of the new Pennsylvania Dog Law coming in Oct., the regulations proposed by the Canine Health Board governing temperature and ventilation in commercial kennels have yet to be finalized as they are still undergoing review by the Department of Agriculture. The regulations, drafted by a panel of veterinarians, set standards for how to keep kennels properly ventilated and maintain temperatures regulated during periods of extreme heat and cold. They also will cover ammonia levels and lighting in kennels. The regulations - when they are finalized by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission - will apply only to commercial kennels of which there are a dwindling number, which last stood at 111, compared with over 300 before the commercial kennel components of the law expanding cage size banning most wire flooring and requiring exercise and veterinary care. But today 81 of the 111 kennels have received waivers of up to three years to comply with the law. In addition, the vast majority of licensed kennels - more than 2,000 - do not fall under the commercial kennel laws governing temperature and ventilation.


Back from the brink... big news for the bald eagles of PA. The Pennsylvania Game Commission reports that so far this year, 192 bald eagle nests have been recorded in 50 counties – including all five counties southeast. As recently as 1983, only three Crawford County nests remained in the state, the result of poisoning from the now-banned pesticide, DDT. The 192 bald eagle nests recorded this spring - up from 170 last year - include eight that were built, but where pairs did not lay eggs. Counties supporting the largest numbers of known nesting pairs are: Crawford, 22; Lancaster, 16; Pike, 16; Mercer, 11; and York 11. Residents aware of a bald eagle nest – they are among the largest nests of all birds – in their area should consider reporting it to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The easiest way to contact the agency and Doug Gross is through: Use the words “Eagle Nest Information” in the subject field.

Animal rescue groups teamed up to rescue 400 cats living in squalor in a northwestern Pennsylvania "animal sanctuary." Humane officers raided the rescue known as Animal Friends of Elk and Cameron Counties in St. Mary's, 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh last Thursday. They found hundreds of cats living in crowded, filthy conditions in the first floor of a commercial building and suffering from a host of ailments including upper respiratory conditions, eye infections and feline leukemia virus. The Elk County Humane Society, received assistance from responders from the ASPCA, the American Humane Association and PetSmart Charities. The director of the Elk County Humane Society said the situation underscores the need for long term efforts to help unwanted cats in that rural county.

An American Kennel Club show judge and another individual from Lehigh County are facing animal cruelty charges after failing to get veterinary treatment for dogs who later died. Miriam Winkler and James Deppen, both of New Tripoli are facing the charges after several months of investigations at Judges Choice of Ironwood Kennels. Police say 18 dogs were found living in unsanitary conditions in April. The owners of the kennel were charged Thursday with animal cruelty after state dog wardens found unsanitary conditions and sick dogs, including two who died days after authorities told the owners to get them help, The Morning Call of Allentown reported. Police said wardens found one of the dead dogs, a Neopolitan mastiff, in a wheelbarrow. (Deppen showed mastiffs at the acclaimed Westminster Dog Show as recently as 2009)


Winkler, 71, and Deppen, 46, each are charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty and one count criminal conspiracy. On April 27, three state dog wardens went to the kennel for an unannounced inspection and discovered 18 bichon frise dogs living in unsanitary conditions. The dogs had heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors that were untreated. The dog wardens could not take the dogs at the time because they had to allow 72 hours for the owners to resolve the health conditions before taking action. Animal welfare activists have long criticized the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for not citing kennels for lack of vet care and failing to call cruelty agents or order immediate veterinary care for dogs who are suffering from serious illness or wounds.

Another Lehigh County dog breeder and AKC judge, M.J. Cohen, was charged with running an illegal kennel earlier this month.