Statement from PA Dept. of Ag. on the murder of 80 dogs

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"The two kennels involved have both voluntarily closed, but until our state's outdated dog law is changed kennel owners may continue to kill their dogs for any reason they see fit, even if it is simply to save money.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.
News Articles:
Maxatawny Township kennel owners kill 80 dogs rather than seek treatment:

Thoughts on Paws: Maxatawny's Zimmerman brothers should be shot for killing dogs

PETITION: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/pa-kennel-owner-shoots...

INFORMATION on the House Bill 2525:

PA Puppy Mill Owners Shoot & Kill 80 Dogs

Two eastern Pennsylvania kennel operators shot 80 dogs after wardens ordered some of the animals examined by veterinarians, dog law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

Elmer Zimmerman, of Kutztown, shot 70 dogs after a July 24 inspection, officials of the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement said. His brother, Ammon Zimmerman, operator of a kennel next door, shot 10 dogs, officials said.

Wardens had ordered 39 dogs checked for flea and fly bites. They also issued citations for extreme heat, insufficient bedding and floors dogs' feet could fall through.

Elmer Zimmerman told The Philadelphia Inquirer he feared the state was trying to close his kennel, and said a veterinarian recommended destroying the dogs.

"They were old, and we were hearing that they don't want kennels anymore," he said. "The best thing to do was get rid of them."

Ammon Zimmerman told a reporter the decision to destroy the dogs was "none of your business."

State law allows owners to put dogs down by shooting them, though Gov. Ed Rendell is trying to change that. He backs legislation pending in the state Legislature that would only allow veterinarians to euthanize dogs in commercial kennels.

"It's horrible, but it's legal," Jessie Smith, special deputy secretary of the dog-law bureau, said of the shootings.

"That someone would shoot 70 dogs rather than spend money to do a vet check is extremely problematic," Smith said.

Ken Brandt, lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders' Association, said the group didn't support the operators' actions. He said there were other ways to resolve the situation, "like in a court."

The breeders could have turned the dogs over to rescue groups, said Howard Nelson, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"Every humane society in the state would have taken those dogs," Nelson said.

The two men surrendered their kennel licenses. Elmer Zimmerman pleaded guilty to four charges of violating the dog law, Smith said.


Please say a prayer for the victims of yesterday's fire in Philadelphia (Conshohocken)

Luckily, none of the 375 people who lived in the complex were injured, but many of them owned pets. It was heartbreaking to watch the evening news last night, as people watched the building go up in flames with their pets inside. One man was shown holding a cat carrier with his cat inside; he went back in for her against the advise of the fire fighters. Thankfully both the man and the cat made it out safely.

Pets that were rescued by fire fighters were taken to the SPCA for the owners to re-claim and owners & pets are being put up in hotels together.

from local news reports:

"Many of the residents who streamed into the firehouse - arriving on school buses or in their own cars - owned pets. Authorities said the rescued but unidentified animals were being housed at a local SPCA shelter. Officials were making sure people with pets could stay at hotels that accommodated them."

Kyle Aaron, 29, was driving home with his girlfriend when he saw his building on fire. After he arrived, he could do nothing but watch as the blaze crept closer toward his own apartment— and worry about his dog, an 11-year-old blond Corgi named Elvis.

After hours of anxiety, a firefighter called his cell phone about 3 a.m.—Aaron thinks the number must have been on Elvis' dog tag—with the good news that the animal was fine.

"We could sleep once we got him," Aaron said. "I honestly don't know how they got him. ... You get your loved ones and life goes on."


NO pet should be cloned, let alone a pit bull

I would have much less of a problem with this incredibly selfish woman if she had paid a lot of money to buy a top of the line pit bull puppy. But to CREATE five pit bull puppies is beyond comprehension.

Cloning only replicates the DNA and not the environmental factors and influences that shape an animal's personality. You can't clone the bond between a pet and the person who loved and nurtured it over the pet's lifetime.

To clone a dead pet when there are so many others already born and waiting for homes is selfish, stupid and ultimately inhumane.


Woman pays $50,000 to clone beloved pit bull
By Hyung-Jin Kim
The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Bernann McKinney says her beloved pit bull “Booger” saved her life when another dog attacked her, then learned to push her wheelchair while she recovered from a severe hand injury and nerve damage.

He died in 2006, but now he’s back — at least in clone form, after the birth last week of puppies replicated by a South Korean company.

“Yes, I know you! You know me too!” McKinney cried joyfully Tuesday, hugging the puppy clones as they slept with one of their two surrogate mothers, both Korean mixed breed dogs, in a Seoul laboratory. “It’s a miracle.”

The five clones were created by Seoul-based RNL Bio in cooperation with a team of Seoul National University scientists who in 2005 created the world’s first cloned dog, a male Afghan hound named Snuppy.

It is headed by Lee Byeong-chun, a former colleague of disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk, whose purported breakthroughs in stem cell research were revealed as fake. Independent tests, however, proved the team’s dog cloning was genuine.

Lee’s team has since cloned some 30 dogs and five wolves but claims Booger’s clones, for which McKinney paid $50,000, are the first successful commercial cloning of a canine.

The procedure, which costs up to $150,000, is drawing criticism from animal rights groups, which oppose cloning pets.

“It’s fraught with animal welfare concerns, and it does not bring back a loved one,” said Martin Stephens, vice president for animal research issues at The Humane Society of The United States, based in Washington.

“A dead animal’s DNA does not guarantee the offspring will be identical to the deceased. It takes more than just genes to create an animal,” said Stephens.


He said the cloning process also subjects hundreds of dogs and cats to invasive procedures as egg donors and surrogates. According to a report released by The Humane Society in May, 3,656 cloned embryos, 319 egg donors and 214 surrogates were used to produce just five cloned dogs and 11 cloned cats who were able to survive 30 days past birth.

There are millions of homeless dogs and cats in the U.S., Stephens said, and “we don’t need new sources to compete with animal shelters and reputable breeders.”

Ra Jeong-chan, company head of RNL Bio, said his firm eventually aims to clone about 300 dogs per year and is also interested in duplicating camels for customers in the Middle East.

Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals rejects adoption application from cancer survivor

The original comment has been deleted from the ZooToo site, so I've posted it here.

Here is the link to previous comments about the problems at Francisvale.

Francisvale discriminatory to cancer survivor.

Reviews: 33
Avg Rating: 4.2
Pros: Selection on pets to adopt.
Cons: Treatment of cancer survivors.
Reviewed: 5 days ago -- Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pet Service Reviewed by: LabradorLover
Supporting Shelter: Montgomery County SPCA

Review Details

A very good friend, Sharon, and her husband, Ray, applied to adopt Sherman, an adorable Beagle mix, but were summarily denied.

After filing all the required paperwork, including veterinary receipts for the care of previous pets, and sitting through and cooperating with the various interviews, they were denied. Not just denied, but told they didn't qualify to adopt any of Francisvale's pets. Why? Because Ray mentioned that he had (past tense) cancer. Ray is a cancer survivor.

Whomever at Francisvale made the decision to exclude Sharon and Ray as possible adopters did so, not because Sharon and Ray are unfit to care for Sherman, or any other pet, but rather because of Ray's medical history.

Actually, Francisvale denied Sharon, the primary applicant for Sherman, because Ray had cancer. He mentioned it during one of their interviews. He told them how he loved his previous pets and how he missed playing with and caring for them now that they were gone. His latest, a Golden which passed on about a year ago, lived into its early teens. Sharon still has pictures on her desk at work.

Ray told Francisvale how his life changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. He told them that he wanted to get another dog, but decided to postpone an adoption until he went through his cancer treatment and beat the disease.

Sharon and Ray know what commitment is when it comes to raising and caring for pets. Sharon and Ray produced veterinary bills for their previous pets. They showed the Francisvale staff photos, as proudly as parents show photos of their children.

I would hope that Francisvale does much good for the animals they take in. I know that Sharon and Ray would have been excellent companions for Sherman.

This isn't a depiction of how a couple lost an opportunity to adopt a pet to another applicant. It's a depiction that Francisvale management was very callous, possibly even discriminatory, in the treatment they extended to Sharon and Ray. According to Francisvale management, Sharon and Ray don't qualify to adopt any of Francisvale's pets, because of Ray's recent medical history.

Sharon and Ray will find another pet to adopt and they'll make fantastic companions for that animal.


2 comments found.

4 days ago
I cannot help but to comment. I feel bad for the treatment these two adopters, especially for the husband Ray. There's no excuse in the world why a cancer survivor cannot have a pet and according to the review, they are not qualified for any pets?? Sounds like the francisvale shelter has some serious personnel issues going on there. I cannot speak for them but I hope they lodge a complaint of some kind to the proper authorities.

3 days ago
This outrageous incident with Sharon and Ray is just another example of the clueless and callous management now at Francisvale. I guess you can't expect any better from a so-called "no kill" animal shelter where the board vice president lets bow-hunters come onto shelter property and kill deer; and, where the so-called "wonderful" new "executive director" puts 7 newborn puppies in a locked room with a BUCKET of water and when one drowns in the bucket of water - to cover up her own incompetence, negligence, or even malice - calls the police and makes a false report that a longtime, dedicated employee - who didn't even have access to the room where the puppies were located - had purposely drowned the puppy. This new "executive director" commented on Zootoo that a former, dedicated, Francisvale employee, who was having mini-strokes, was a "brain-damaged retard." Plus, you can only get in "by appointment only" and they charge $250 to adopt "puppies." Now that's a really welcoming place, isn't it? I guess if you're a hunter.