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80 dogs shot at Pa. kennels

Two eastern Pennsylvania kennel operators shot and killed 80 of their dogs, rather than comply with orders to have their animals examined by veterinarians, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

And because of a loophole in state law, neither will be punished for the mass extermination.

Elmer Zimmerman, of Kutztown, shot 70 dogs after a July 24 inspection; his brother Ammon Zimmerman, who operates a kennel next door, shot 10 dogs, officials of the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement 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: “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.”

Pennsylvania law allows owners to put dogs down by shooting them.

A bill in the state legislature, backed by Gov. Ed Rendell, would allow only 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.”

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


Comment from baltimoregal
Time August 13, 2008 at 10:55 am

That is horrifying. They should be banned from owning animals in the future as they obviously don’t care about them.

Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time August 13, 2008 at 11:09 am

Get rid of them??? They need to change that law. We also need to get rid of the idea that shooting is a “humane” way to kill a dog.

Comment from Marie
Time August 13, 2008 at 11:13 am

What kind of kennel were they? A puppy mill? Hoarders? That is terrible. So many things are wrong with this story, I don’t know where to start. How sad. I guess the silver lining is that the dogs were suffering and are no longer in pain. Not much consolation there, however.

Comment from debdramby
Time August 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm

This is heartbreaking. Surrendering a kennel license is not enough. I agree with baltimoregal – they should be banned from owning an animal ever again.

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