Archive: May, 2010
UPDATE - The six Amish and Mennonite dog breeders withdrew their federal suit against the PSPCA and Main Line Animal Rescue in April. A call to their attorney was not immediately returned today.
Amish church doctrine has historically frowned on - even forbidden - lawsuits. Not anymore. In what appears to be a growing trend toward the Amish exerting their legal rights in court, a Pennsylvania dog breeder is filing a federal lawsuit over enforcement of the state animal law.
This time a Chester County farmer claims the Pennsylvania SPCA seized his family's pets after humane officers filed charges over dogs with "overgrown nails and fleas."
The following are some of the recent cases investigated by the Pennsylvania SPCA. Headquartered at 350 E. Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, the PSPCA operates four branches throughout the state. For more information, call 215-426-6300 or visit www.pspca.org. To report animal cruelty call 1-866-601-SPCA.
60th street, 1700 block, April 29. Officers responded to a complaint of a deceased dog at the property. At the scene, officers found a dog that appeared to have been dead for over a month. A search warrant was executed, and entry was made into the home. The owner of the property stated that the dog belonged to a cousin and she did not know how the dog died. The owner also had a male pit bull mix that appeared to be in fair condition but was being kept in a room that was covered with trash and feces. The owner surrendered the pit bull mix and received a citation for unsanitary conditions. In the basement an officer found one female grey cat and three kittens that were also removed and surrendered to the Pennsylvania SPCA. Additional charges are pending following an autopsy of the deceased dog.
Snyder Avenue, 1100 block. Apr. 19. Officers responded to complaints of a malnourished tan pit bull left outside in the yard, tied with a tight phone cord. The dog did not have access to food, water or shelter. When officers arrived, the dog appeared to be in poor physical condition with hair loss and scaly skin on its back and tail. No food, water, or shelter was visible. The dog was removed from the property and the owner was cited for failure to provide necessary veterinary care as well as food, water, and shelter.
Vanessa Carlton posed for a PETA ad a few years ago, but you won't catch her walking a thousand miles for a pit bull in the Poconos. In fact, according to the Pocono Record, she all-but signed the dog's execution order.
On PETA's website the pop star gushes over her beloved dog, Lord Victor, promotes spay/neuter and touts the importance of rescuing dogs from shelters.
What happened when a nine-month old puppy bolted from its yard on May 2 and bit Carlton on the ankle while jogging in a neighborhood near her parents house? She filed dangerous dog complaint with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement that led to the near destruction of the dog.
In part two of the WHAS-TV series on dog auctions, the reporter and a local rescue group purchase nine dogs that had already been cleared by a USDA veterinarian at the sale and, presumably, by another vet before arriving at the auction.
Hear what the WHAS vet has to say during his examination.
A group, Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, is currently gathering signatures for a ballot referendum to outlaw dog auctions as they are in Pennsylvania.
A reporter with a Kentucky TV station went undercover to get a rare view at the inside of one of the country's largest dog auctions. Part one of the WHAS-TV series looks at the activity inside the dilapidated auction house in Holmes County, Ohio, and what happened when the reporter attempted to question the Farmerstown auction owner about his business.
This is the same dog auction where Bill Smith of Chester Springs, PA-based Main Line Animal Rescue and the Pennsylvania SPCA, accompanied by a veterinarian, bought 12 dogs last October that were being sold by Pennsylvania breeders. Veterinary exams showed the dogs were suffering from an array of ailments, including severe dental and skin diseases.
In part two of the TV series, the reporter and a local rescue group purchase nine dogs that had already been cleared by a USDA veterinarian at the sale and, presumably, by another vet before arriving at the auction. Hear what the WHAS vet has to say during his examination.
Animal welfare advocates have long argued the U.S. Department of Agriculture was lax in its oversight of the nation's puppy mills. In a landmark report released today, federal inspectors agreed.
Weak government enforcement has led to the deaths and suffering of dogs living in terrible conditions in commercial breeding facilities licensed by the federal government, the report found.
Investigators with the Office of Inspector General said the USDA which is in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn't adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs.
Oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is wreaking havoc on wildlife in the wetlands on the coast. From whales to shrimp to tropical birds, in all, 400 species of animals are at risk. So far officials have reported only a relative few deaths directly attributed to the environmental catastrophe, saying many animals may have died in the sea but they also said to expect those numbers to increase.
The oil particularly threatens vulnerable species like sea turtles. All sea turtle species found in U.S. coastal waters are threatened or endangered. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas cleaned a baby endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle (see below video) with a toothbrush after the animal was found floating in the oil slick. Since the spill, more than 186 dead sea turtles have been found along Gulf coastlines. Though they had no obvious signs of oil contamination, tests are in progress. We were sorry to hear the huge outpouring of gifts of hair (animal and human) to be used in booms to help sop up the oil wasn't working and has been abandoned - at least for now.
Add Safeway and Sara Lee to the growing list of food sales and production companies that are going "cage free." Downers Grove, Ill.-based food and beverage manufacturer Sara Lee has joined the national movement away from using eggs from caged hens by beginning a new cage-free egg purchasing program, according to the Humane Society of the United States, which is engaged in a national campaign to free caged hens used in egg production. Most laying hens are crammed into battery cages, the same dimensions as a single sheet of paper, in which they spend their lives. Last week, Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery giant Safeway said it will significantly increase its sales of cage-free eggs—from 6 percent to 12 percent—over the next two years.
Remember May 18 as a day for justice for animals in our region. Three convicted animal abusers were hauled off to jail that day - two of them in Pennsylvania.
In Allentown, Derbe Eckhart, one of the most notorious kennel operators in the state, was sentenced to six to 23 months in prison by Lehigh County Judge Robert Steinberg who didn't buy Eckhart's tearful apology and excuses, ranging from blaming others to saying he was overwhelmed by all the unwanted animals he rescued. This didn't sit well with the judge who noted that he was selling these dogs at his Almost Heaven kennel for exorbitant prices.
But it's over for Eckhart now. He also was barred from owning or being in the presence of animals - besides the ones he already has - for almost five years. The state says he will never possess another kennel license again. Still, at the time of his kennel license revocation, Eckhart was left with 25 dogs (the most an individual can own without a kennel license) and untold number of cats, birds, horses, guinea pigs and monkeys. The fate of those animals is unknown and it does not appear that either the state or the PSPCA asked the judge to allow follow-up inspections of the property.