Five Pennsylvania kennels have landed on the Humane Society of the United States’ “Horrible Hundred” list, its annual compilation of the nation’s most problematic commercial dog breeders.
In the report released this week, the Humane Society said the list is full of breeders who have been cited by federal and state authorities for many years for numerous violations but who continue to operate.
Of the five kennels listed in Pennsylvania, three are in central Pennsylvania – Cumberland, Lebanon, and Lancaster counties. The report documents a range of kennel operation issues, including dirty living quarters, poor ventilation, undersized kennels, and failure to keep accurate records.
The organization uses United States Department of Agriculture and state inspection records to determine which kennels to include. Pennsylvania, which has one of the most numerous dog-breeding kennels in the nation, has as many as 12 kennels on the list, but the number of underperforming kennels has declined, although the number of kennels has increased.
“We think Pennsylvania has a more serious enforcement program than other states and hope that ultimately it will make a difference, but we still see the same puppy mills over and over,” John Goodwin said. , senior director of the company’s Stop the Puppy. Campaign of the Mills.
Margaret Graf, who operates Eichenluft Kennel in Newville, reported for the fifth year. The kennel has a history of failed inspections and citations dating back to 2010. Violations include: failure to maintain a kennel in sanitary and humane conditions, failure to provide adequate shelter from cold and rain, strong odors, excessive excrement , poor ventilation, dirty water dishes, undersized kennels and inadequate veterinary care programs, according to the company’s report.
Graf, whose website advertises American Kennel Club-registered German Shepherds, was also cited for lacking health and dog transfer records and for operating more dogs than the authorized kennel license.
The report points out that record keeping may seem like a minor issue, but not tracking dogs properly “could be an indication that a licensed kennel is ‘clearing’ dogs from other unlicensed kennels, which would go to the defeats the purpose of the state licensing and inspection program.”
The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement said Graf, operating as Eichenluft and Ritner Kennel, held three licenses: breeding, boarding and rescue. The board has revoked the salvage license and is finalizing the revocation of the boarding license.
“The department has been embroiled in litigation with Margaret Graf for several years,” spokeswoman Shannon Powers said. “She will end up with the breeding kennel license, which the office plans to monitor closely. “
Graf did not respond to a voicemail requesting comment.
Bobbie Yoder of Little Mountain Doodles in Myerstown lost her state dealer license in 2021 for buying and selling puppies from unauthorized sources for several years, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement said.
Powers said that “monitoring of his Dog Law records and subsequent follow-up uncovered dozens of unlicensed kennels, which have now either been closed or given proper licenses.” After a settlement earlier this year, Yoder is in an expedited rehab order with the district attorney’s office and his license has been reinstated, Powers said.
Reached on Friday, Yoder said her dogs are being well cared for and the issues with the state are “all about paperwork in 2020 and nothing to do with dog care.”
The company’s report noted that “failure to keep accurate records of dogs entering and leaving the kennel could mislead buyers and also pose a risk in tracking infectious disease outbreaks.”
Treehouse Family Puppies in Jonestown made the list of repeated citations for droppings accumulated in kennels and kennel runs. Owner Steve Musser said that although he hadn’t seen the report, he was “very disappointed and upset to be there”. He defended his maintenance schedule and said he cleaned the cited kennels during the January inspection.
“We take care of our puppies and our dogs,” he said. “We’re happy for people to come and take a look.”
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The other two Pennsylvania kennels on the list are Sunrise Kennel, owned by John King, in Caernarvon Township, Lancaster County, and Blanche S. Plute in McDonald, Allegheny, and Washington counties. King was repeatedly ordered to perform 72-hour veterinary checks on sick or injured dogs. Plute was cited for rusting enclosures and keeping dogs in kennels with insufficient headroom.
There are 2,384 licensed non-commercial kennels in Pennsylvania and 130 commercial kennels, a more than four-fold increase in the number of commercial kennels since stricter regulations took effect in 2011, but down from a peak of over from 300 in the early 2000s. Commercial kennels are defined as those that transfer more than 60 dogs per year, many of which sell hundreds of dogs per year online and in pet stores.
There are 41 dog sitters and seven supervisors in Pennsylvania, up from 65 a decade ago.
The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has suffered a lingering financial crisis stemming from the legislature’s failure to raise dog license fees, which has forced the agency to leave vacancies unfilled, he said. in its 2020 annual report.
“The numerous charges and penalties levied against these businesses, along with dozens of unlicensed kennels closed and licenses revoked, demonstrate that the office is doing its job and taking all legally available steps to maintain the kennels to the high standards of dog law. of Pennsylvania,” Powers mentioned.
The Pennsylvania Licensed Kennel Inspection Database is accessible through the state Department of Agriculture.
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