A Chester County couple are charged with hanging two dogs at a kennel that had been repeatedly inspected for various violations in recent years, state records show.
John and Elizabeth "Betty" Stoltzfus, of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, were charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty for allegedly hanging two female dogs at their kennel, a Bichon-type and Golden Doodle-type dog, and then burning the bodies, the PSPCA announced on Friday. Both dogs had brucellosis, a bacterial infection.
“This case is especially heinous as it alleges the intentional torture of these two animals through hanging, which is a slow and painful way to die,” PSPCA Director of Humane Law Enforcement Nicole Wilson said in a statement. “It is our hope that these defendants are convicted and face the harshest penalties available."
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According to state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law kennel records, Betty Stoltzfus admitted hanging the dogs during an inspection in August 2017, at a time when the kennel had 11 dogs and 34 puppies on site.
"Two dogs previously on the premises were no longer there," the report states. "The kennel owner stated that her husband took care of the dogs via hanging."
The case was immediately referred to the PSPCA's Humane Law Enforcement, the report states. Euthanasia is illegal unless first cleared by a veterinarian. The kennel was also quarantined for canine brucellosis, which can be a serious and contagious illness but is treatable.
"My understanding is they had made the decision not to take these dog to the vet because they wanted to go a family event, instead of leaving the dogs in the kennel and waiting to go through the euthanasia process," Wilson told Metro. "It was clear when I looked at the recent kennel records attached to this location that there were issues with an ongoing inability to come into compliance with current dog law."
The double hanging allegedly occurred in early August 2017, just weeks before Libre's Law took effect in Pennsylvania, which would have made these alleged incidents chargeable as felonies, the PSPCA said.
The couple waived their preliminary hearing, and will be arraigned on the charges on April 18.