A Delaware police dog, wounded in the line of duty and hailed as a hero earlier this month, has recovered from pneumonia, is up and walking and eating solid food, his veterinarian said this morning. Diablo, a year-and-a-half old Belgian Malinois, was shot Nov. 11 as he apprehended a gunwielding suspect at a Wilmington apartment complex. My Inquirer colleague Sam Wood reports as the K-9 bit down on the gunman's arm, the man fired twice. A bullet ripped through Diablo's left shoulder. Another shattered the dog's left leg. Still, Diablo hung on to the man and released him only when his handler called out. The wounded K-9 was taken to a local hospital in Delaware before being transported by motorcade to the University of Pennsylvania's vet hospital. Diablo remains in intensive care, but is making a strong recovery.
An animal protection group is asking a federal judge to block the government’s planned roundup of thousands of wild mustangs in Nevada next month. California-based In Defense of Animals says in a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. that the helicopter-aided roundups are illegal because they “traumatize, injure and kill” some of the horses, according to the Associated Press. Critics say the pending roundup in northern Nevada is by far the largest the U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans this year, involving as many as 2,700 wild horses. It’s part of BLM’s plan to remove more than 30,000 horses from federal lands in the West over the next three years to deal with soaring numbers of the animals and the growing costs to manage them.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation requiring all garments made of animal fur to be labeled as such. New Jersey now joins Delaware, Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin as the fifth state with a fur labeling law, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Ongoing investigations by HSUS have revealed that many designers and retailers have sold unlabeled or mislabeled fur-trimmed jackets. The law will require all garments containing animal fur sold in New Jersey to be labeled with the type of animal fur and the country of origin.
A western Pennsylvania man told police he kicked his girlfriend's puppy to death because he was upset that the dog wouldn't behave before the start of the Pittsburgh Steelers game. William Woodson, 22, of Bridgeville, was jailed on a charge of animal cruelty in the 13-week-old pit bull's death. A witness told police that Woodson was kicking the dog down the street shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, which is when the football game began. Police say Woodson was supposed to be taking the pit bull for a walk, but the animal resisted. By the time police arrived, the puppy was dead. He faces a hearing on the cruelty charge on Monday. The incident occured the same day news was announced that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he would donate money to help Kansas City buy a new police dog.
Docket watch: The hearing scheduled Tuesday before the Department of Agriculture for Joyce Stoltzfus of CC Pets Inc in Peach Bottom, Lancaster County has been continued at the defendant's request. Acting Agriculture Sec. Russell Redding revoked Stoltzfus's kennel license in October after a Commonwealth Court judge suspended her business operations for six months for violating terms of a 2005 consent petition. The petition was the result of a lawsuit filed on behalf of 171 individuals who purchased sick dogs from Stoltzfus when she was doing business as Puppy Love. An agency spokesman says no new hearing date has been set.
Chester County veterinarian Tom Stevenson goes before the state Veterinary Medical Board on Dec. 10 to find out whether he will be able to practice medicine in the Commonwealth again. His license was suspended by the board in July after Stevenson was charged with animal cruelty. Witnesses say he amputated a puppy's tail without anesthesia while holding it under scalding hot water. Stevenson, owner of Twin Valley Veterinary Clinic, is scheduled for trial on the animal cruelty charge in Lancaster County Magisterial District Court on Dec. 16 before Judge Stuart Mylin, the same judge who found in July that there was enough evidence to send the case to the Court of Common Pleas for trial. However, for reasons Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman will not reveal, the case was remanded to Mylin's court where Stevenson can still be convicted of animal cruelty but will face penalties on a summary charge, a lesser offense.
Shortly before former Lehigh County kennel owner Derbe Eckhart was to be sentenced on Nov. 16 he dropped his guilty plea on animal cruelty charges. As a result, on Dec. 23, a jury will decide if Eckhart is guilty of scores, if not hundreds, of cruelty and dog law charges stemming from multiple raids over the past year. Eckhart, who owned Almost Heaven kennel in Emmaus, is free on $25,000 bail but was ordered by a judge not to work around animals. In June, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement removed 216 dogs from the kennel after Eckhart lost an emergency appeal of his kennel license revocation. A raid at the Emmaus property last year by the Pennsylvania SPCA exposed horrendous conditions inside the kennel where as many as 800 animals, also including cats, horses, birds and guinea pigs, were found living in filthy, crowded cages and kennels.
The first of six Pennsylvania dog breeders charged as part of an Ohio auction investigation last month face trial on animal cruelty charges in Lancaster County on Jan. 5. Ella Mae Zimmerman and Loren Nolt - whose sick dogs were purchased at auction by Main Line Animal Rescue and the Pennsylvania SPCA - are scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Rodney Hartman in New Holland.
Philadelphia Bassett hound breeder Wendy Willard, charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty, is scheduled for trial Jan. 12. Willard, owner of Murder Hollow Bassetts, was raided by Pennsylvania SPCA agents and state dog wardens after complaints about noise. She was citations for lack of veterinary care and 11 citations for unsanitary condition. In addition, Willard was in violation of city ordinance limiting the number of dogs on a property to 12. Interestingly, Willard applied for a state kennel license - which would allow her to own more than 25 dogs -after being charged with animal cruelty. If she is convicted, Willard will not be allowed to hold a state kennel license under the new dog law.