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Saturday, Dec 1, 2007County: Chester
Defendant/Suspect: Emanuel Stoltzfus
A man who recently surrendered his kennel dogs to authorities pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges Thursday.
Emanuel Stoltzfus pleaded guilty to three counts of animal cruelty in district court. The charges were filed after authorities confiscated 24 dogs on Dec. 1 from his kennel in the 200 block of Mt. Pleasant Road.
Under the plea bargain, Stoltzfus will have to pay a $150 fine - $50 for each charge - and be on probation for 90 days.
Assistant District Attorney Lori Finnegan said outside the courtroom, the dogs suffered skin-, teeth- and eye-health problems as well as and nail and toe infections.
"The veterinary care was definitely lacking for animals in cages," Finnegan said.
While on probation, Finnegan said, Stoltzfus will not be able to open a kennel or apply for a kennel license.
Outside of court, defense attorney Cory Miller said to his client's credit, Stoltzfus surrendered his dogs to authorities at the investigation, even though he did not have to do so. And, Miller said, authorities allowed Stoltzfus to keep his personal dog, which appeared to be in fine health.
"This is an example of a situation where a family hobby expanded beyond its allowable size, and because of a complaint and an investigation, we're here today," Miller said.
The SPCA took the dogs after receiving a tip from a man who went to the kennel to buy a dog. The man decided against getting a dog after he reportedly saw hundreds of dogs in wire cages and smelled a strong odor.
The SPCA received a search warrant from the Chester County District Attorney's office about 10 p.m. Nov. 30. Two SPCA officers and the county's dog warden responded but were not allowed in the facility. The SPCA said this type of warrant could not be executed until Dec 1.
When the authorities returned the next day, they found 25 dogs. The authorities took all of them but the family pet. There were many cages, according to the SPCA, and authorities are unsure if the kennel owner got rid of some dogs the night before.
The dogs lived in an unheated, metal building and were not receiving proper veterinary care, the SPCA said.
"Some of the dogs have dental issues, sores between the digits on their paws from standing on the wire cages without bottoms, and hair loss," said SPCA spokesman Chuck McDevitt.
He said the dogs were also not licensed and did not have rabies vaccines, which are both required by the state.
Only one dog from the kennel - an adult female Jack Russell terrier - is still at the Chester County SPCA. She is available for adoption.
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