A Chester County couple pled guilty to charges stemming from the hanging of two dogs at their kennel earlier this year, and are both now banned from owning animals for several years, the PSPCA announced on Monday.
John and Elizabeth "Betty" Stoltzfus, of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, were charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty in March for the hanging of two female dogs at their kennel, a Bichon-type and Golden Doodle-type dog, and then burning the bodies. Both dogs had brucellosis, a bacterial infection, which is treatable, and is why they decided to euthanize the dogs by hanging – which is illegal.
“This case involved especially heinous acts of animal cruelty, including the intentionally torturous deaths of two dogs,” PSPCA Director of Humane Law Enforcement Nicole Wilson said in a statement. “While we can never undo this damage, we can take some solace in knowing that this couple will not own animals for a very long time.”
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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."
After receiving the Bureau of Dog Law's report, PSPCA Humane Law Enforcement officers investigated and brought charges against the Stoltzfuses, who have been repeatedly cited for various violations at their kennel over the years.
Betty Stoltzfus pled guilty to failure to notify the Bureau of Dog Law before euthanasia, and failure to maintain a sanitary, humane kennel, and got a two-year animal ownership prohibition. John Stoltzfus pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty for hanging the dogs and can no longer own animals for the next 10 years, the PSPCA said.
The couple also had to surrender the remaining two Golden Doodle dogs in their possession to the PSPCA, who will adopt them out.
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.
To report animal cruelty, call the PSPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at 866-601-7722.