TIOGA - State Department of Agriculture wardens have closed an illegal kennel in Tioga County after learning that the owner was advertising dogs for sale on a Web site dedicated to hunting dogs, coondogs.com.
On July 10, wardens entered the Bear Creek Kennel property in Tioga with a search warrant and discovered 33 dogs.
Scott Fay, the owner, was served with a cease and desist order that included instructions prohibiting him from euthanizing any dogs.
Dog wardens removed 18 dogs from the property on July 23, leaving Fay and his associates, Tammy Long and Connie Adams, with five dogs each, per a consent agreement they signed with the department in 2008.
Fifty-seven summary citations were filed with District Judge James Carlson's office Thursday by Ron Adams, dog warden for Potter and Tioga counties.
They included 33 for failure to provide rabies shots; 16 for failure to license dogs; two for failure to obtain veterinary checks of dogs and five for failure to keep the kennels in good repair, according to the citations.
Each citation carries a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum of $500.
According to Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement spokesman Justin Fleming, the agreement was made with Fay for him to keep five dogs last year after he was first found to be operating the kennel illegally and was cited for it, Fleming said.
"You can have up to 25 dogs without a kennel license. So the agreement stripped he and his associates of 20 dogs apiece," Fleming said. "Usually an agreement is done in conjunction with an attorney," he added.
According to Fleming, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement can do license checks and check for rabies shots, but if there are unsanitary conditions it gets turned over to a humane officer, he said.
Fay's kennel license was originally revoked in September 2007 after he failed to maintain sanitary and humane conditions.
"Mr. Fay has scoffed at the law for years, placed his dogs in unacceptable situations and sought to profit from his illegal actions," said Jessie Smith, the special deputy secretary for dog law enforcement with the Agriculture Department in a press release. "We have no tolerance for illegal, unlicensed kennels and will continue working to close these kennels and protect the dogs involved."
Most of the dogs were taken to Stone Creek Kennel in Hesston, Huntingdon County.
Other dogs were placed at the Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA in Schuylkill County, the Humane League of Lancaster County, and Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester County.
"We are pleased that so many of these dogs have been placed within the sporting dog community, and grateful to the three nonprofit animal shelters that also took dogs. These organizations are providing care to the dogs and giving them, and their pups, an opportunity to find a good home," said Smith.
Smith said the case highlights important legal advances provided under the new dog law of 2008, signed by Governor Ed Rendell last October.
"The previous law was ambiguous about what charges could be filed against illegal kennels, beyond charges for failure to get a license," said Smith. "(The new law) makes it clear that wardens can also cite for any unsatisfactory conditions that a regularly licensed kennel would be accountable for, and we will file those charges is this case for sanitation, upkeep and any other applicable violations."
Anyone wishing to offer confidential tips about unsatisfactory or illegal kennels can call a toll-free hotline, 1-877-364-8471.