Sunday wag 3/6

UPDATE - The Basset hound hoarders in Franklin County were found guilty Monday on 24 counts of animal abuse for keeping their dogs in a filthy trailer. David and Peri Flory of Fayetteville were ordered to pay a fine and - in an especially tough sentence for Pennsylvania - told they could not own animals for six years. (A reader of the local Public Opinion newspaper points out that David Clark, the farmer in nearby Fulton County who abandoned 900 pigs to die. likely of starvation, got a smaller fine and no court-ordered probation.) The couple said they had not let their dogs outside to go to the bathroom for between three and six months because of a dispute with a neighbor. More in the Public Opinion here.


There's a new shelter in town. Operation Ava, a full-service animal shelter has opened its doors at 858 N. 3rd St. in Northern Liberties of Philadelphia, The shelter is an outgrowth of efforts that began last summer by Doggie Style pet shops to help place homeless dogs and cats - most coming directly from city animal control. So far the stores have saved the lives of 112 animal. Soon the state-of-the-art shelter will house almost that many cats and dogs every day. By the grand opening next month shelter staff - led by Nicole La Rocca and Ray Little, both formerly of the PSPCA - hope to have a vet clinic up and running at the site. In addition to the "cageless" housing - cats and dogs will live in open rooms -the shelter also features an 8,000-square foot exercise yard. The shelter also will provide low cost spay neuter services for community and educational programs for children focusing on humane animal care.

As one door opens, another closes, the clock is ticking for the animals in Delaware County where the SPCA decided to become a "no kill" facility and as such no longer provide animal control services for that populous county. Municipalities are scrambling to find alternatives by the July deadline as the Delaware County Times reported yesterday. As one police chief put it, trying to become no-kill by refusing to pick up strays is like a police department trying to say its a "no crime city" by not arresting anyone.

A Shiba Inu is recovering tonight after being thrown from a moving truck on busy Rt. 30 in Lancaster County. The Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal reports the male dog was rescued by other drivers who stopped to help after they witnessed the horrific act Saturday morning. The dog was taken to Lancaster Humane League where he is under heavy sedation and may need surgery for a broken hip. Adoption offers are streaming in.

A Franklin County couple is to stand trial tomorrow for animal cruelty on charges of keeping 24 Basset Hounds in squalid conditions. David and Peri Flory pleaded not guilty to 48 counts of cruelty filed by a humane officer who found the dogs living in a sea of waste in the couple's trailer and found the body of a dead dog in the yard, according to the Public Opinion of Chambersburg. The couple, whose house was condemned in January, said they hadn't let the dogs outside to relieve themselves because of a dispute with a neighbor. 

The state's most notorious puppy mill operator, Derbe "Skip" Eckhart, is scheduled to be released from prison this month after serving 9 1/2 months for animal cruelty (plus some time for assaulting a prison guard). Eckhart, who operated Almost Heaven kennel until it was closed by the state, told a judge he now knows what it feels like to be "caged up." He will be on probation for five years and during that time may not own or work around animals. More from the Morning Call here.

Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are taking stands on puppy mills. U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach re-introduced legislation to prevent puppy mill owners from exploiting a loophole in federal law and avoiding reasonable regulation. The proposed Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS Act) calls for all commercial breeders that sell more than 50 dogs per year to the public to be federally licensed and inspected regularly. Some large breeders have evaded federal animal welfare laws by selling dogs on the Internet. This bill (H.R. 835) would close that loophole. Dogs at these commercial breeding facilities also would receive daily exercise separate from the primary enclosure. The amount of exercise would be based on the age, gender, and reproductive status of the dog.

State Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Phila.) takes issue with a House committee's passage of a resolution calling for an economic impact study on the 2008 dog law "There is no need to spend taxpayer money to study or review the current law, which has already been voted on and enacted,” said Sen. Farnese. “The current law provides for the basic standard of care for dogs and must be preserved.” HR 89 passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee last week. It calls for the joint state government commission to study the impact of the law on commercial kennels, veterinary practices and other businesses. The American Kennel Club urged its members to support the measure which is widely viewed among animal advocates as an attempt to gut the law mandating higher standards of care in commercial kennels.