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Dog Law Officers' Crackdown on Unsatisfactory Kennels Protecting Animals, Consumers

Unlicensed Perry County Kennel Owner Pleads Guilty; Dog Wardens Revoke Snyder County Kennel License

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Agriculture Department officials are cracking down on unsatisfactory kennels with the help of increased enforcement by the state's special prosecutor and dog wardens, Special Deputy Agriculture Secretary for Dog Law Enforcement Jessie Smith said today.

"Pennsylvania dog wardens continue to make progress enforcing current regulations. They are citing and, in some cases, closing unsatisfactory kennels," Smith said. "While we continue to make progress, we still must work to improve conditions for dogs in Pennsylvania, so consumers will know they are buying healthy and happy animals from licensed kennels."

In July, state dog wardens inspected an unlicensed kennel owned by Steve Earnest of Millerstown, Perry County, after receiving a complaint. Wardens found 45 dogs without rabies vaccinations living in unsatisfactory kennel conditions and cited Earnest on numerous kennel regulation violations. When wardens returned three weeks later to ensure Earnest complied with the regulations, they discovered a dead puppy and dogs infected with parvovirus. Some of those dogs eventually died. Earnest surrendered all of his dogs to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area.

Special Prosecutor for Dog Law Enforcement Jeffrey Paladina charged Earnest with three counts of kennel violations, to which he pleaded guilty.

To help better enforce dog laws and regulations, Governor Rendell appointed Paladina to his current position. In August, the attorney general granted Paladina the power to represent dog wardens in district court.

"Previously, even the most severe violations of the dog law were handled in court by dog wardens," said Smith. "Now we are better able to prosecute kennel operators who willfully violate the law and put animals in potentially harmful situations."

State dog wardens also charged Elton Horning, of Penn's Creek Kennel in Middleburg, Snyder County, with failure to keep the kennel in sanitary and humane conditions. The Snyder County District Attorney's Office tried Horning, who pleaded guilty to the charges on Nov. 29 and the department told Horning this week that his kennel license has been revoked.

Any kennel with 26 or more dogs per year must obtain a license and be inspected annually.

In October 2006, Governor Rendell announced sweeping changes to the state's dog law and regulations. The Governor also took actions to increase the enforcement of current laws by naming Jessie Smith as a special deputy, hiring a special prosecutor, and increasing the number of dog wardens.

For more information on Pennsylvania's dog law, and to access kennel inspection records, visit


Nicole L. Cullison

(717) 787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
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