HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff released the following statement in response to the shooting of 80 dogs at two Berks County kennels:
"The recent shooting of 80 dogs at two Berks County kennels is saddening. The decision by commercial breeders to kill healthy dogs instead of paying to repair a kennel and seek veterinary care is alarming, and will likely outrage many people. Unfortunately, the killing of the dogs was legal under current Pennsylvania law.
"The two kennels involved have both voluntarily closed, but until our state's outdated dog law is changed kennel owners may continue to kill their dogs for any reason they see fit, even if it is simply to save money. We can't afford to wait any longer to pass legislation that would ban commercial kennel owners from killing their dogs.
"House Bill 2525, introduced in May, would allow only veterinarians to euthanize dogs in commercial breeding kennels. The bill would strengthen current dog laws and provide better standards for the health and safety of dogs in commercial breeding kennels without burdening other types of kennels that house dogs. The legislature has an opportunity to pass this important legislation this fall, and they should -- as doing so will assure that this activity will be illegal in PA commercial breeding kennels moving forward."
Rather than seek medical attention for dogs suffering from fleas and fly sores, kennel owners Ammon and Elmer Zimmerman of Kutztown shot all 80 of their dogs to save costs. The Zimmermans, owners of A&J Kennel and E&A Kennel, voluntarily surrendered their licenses on July 29 after killing the dogs.
Dog wardens inspected E&A Kennel on July 24, noting several violations for kennel sanitation and maintenance. Wardens also noted fleas and fly sores on 39 of the dogs and ordered veterinary checks. Wardens issued four citations for violations and planned to confirm the veterinary checks during a follow-up inspection. The wardens were notified on July 29 that the owners of both kennels chose to destroy the dogs and dismantle the kennels.
Maxatawny Township kennel owners kill 80 dogs rather than seek treatment:
Thoughts on Paws: Maxatawny's Zimmerman brothers should be shot for killing dogs
INFORMATION on the House Bill 2525: