Warrant issued for kennel owner in cruelty case

Correction: Humane agent Marlene Metzger is employed as a humane officer by the Dessin Animal Shelter not the Pennsylvania SPCA. Thank you readers for pointing that out. 

Pennsylvania State Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of kennel owner Laura Antretter who fled her Sullivan County home after authorities raided her property twice last month and found 21 dead dogs and the remains of 10 other animals.

Antretter, 44, of Dushore, was charged with 76 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and 25 misdemeanor dog law violations, following a joint investigation by the state police and Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, according to a state police report issued Wednesday.

At the time of the first raid, authorities found six dead dogs and surviving dogs living in filthy conditions. Antretter surrendered 27 dogs  - most of them Jack Russell terriers - who were taken to a shelter in neighboring Wayne County. When police returned the next day Antretter was gone and the remaining surviving animals were removed. They also found 15 more dead dogs and the remains of a chicken, a cat, a goat, a pig and six hamsters.

Wardens and humane officers described horrific conditions in the house and kennels where animals were living amid piles of excrement and appeared to have died in their cages.

“Everything just died and stayed wherever it died,” Dessin Animal Shelter Humane Society Police Officer Marlene Metzger told the Wayne Independent newspaper. She said they found a dead mother dog and her six puppies under a bag of cat food.

The five surviving dogs left behind by Antretter were sent to the SPCA of Luzerne County where they were treated for parasite infestation.

Authorities believe Antretter fled with an unknown number of dogs.

Antretter owned Autumnbriar kennel, the only licensed kennel in remote Sullivan County in the northeastern section of the state.

There were 53 dogs in the kennel at the time of the last state kennel inspection in January. The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement revoked her license after Antretter received multiple citations last year for unsanitary conditions.

On her Website, Antretter said she was committed to "the preservation of old world canines" and had been breeding dogs, Jack Russell terriers, Atlas Terriers and Lurchers, for 22 years.

Antretter, who was also known as Lauren Wolfe, received a kennel license in 2007 after she was cited by dog wardens for operating illegal kennel. Conditions went downhill in 2008 which led to the revocation of her license, state officials said.

According to court records, Antretter pleaded guilty to 15 citations for unsafe and unsanitary conditions and failure to produce rabies vaccination records between 2005 and December 2008. In January she received additional citations for poor maintenance, poor drainage and the absence of either rabies vaccinations and sales records. The most recent inspection report indicates a veterinarian accompanied two dog wardens on the inspection, but it did not state that any orders for medical care were given.

Four inspection reports in 2008 reveal widespread problems at the kennel, including pens with sharp wire edges, filthy water and food bowls, feces-filled cages, poor drainage and no health or sales records. Inspection reports also show Antretter housed unneutered and unspayed dogs together, which can provoke fighting and indiscriminate breeding.