CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 28, 2010

Animal Cruelty? What’s behind the Truth?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

ANIMAL CRUELTY? WHAT’S BEHIND THE TRUTH?

     What is true?

     The Almost Heaven Kennel, owned by Lehigh County resident Derbe “Skip” Eckhart, was closed down in 2008 by Pennsylvania dog Warden Kristen Donmoyer (a kennel-compliance specialist with the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement). He is on trial for animal cruelty and other counts following a 2008 raid.

     Donmoyer, who closed the kennel due to deplorable conditions, testified that she’d “never forget the (sickening) smell” of ammonia produced by animal urine. On cross-examination, she acknowledged that the kennel passed inspection earlier in 2008, less than two months before she closed it. She testified that there was no “notation of dogs in wretched, deplorable conditions” After Jeff Conrad, defense lawyer, stated that wardens could be arbitrary and capricious if they chose to be, Donmoyer agreed that even a “nasty old weed” on the premises could be in violation of the finer points of the Pennsylvania kennel regulations.

     Some of the scores of dogs and cats seized from Derbe ”Skip” Eckhart’s Almost Heaven kennel are already up for adoption through the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Philadelphia, and many more are expected to be available after they receive medical treatment and behavioral rehabilitation.* On June 25, 2009, Chris Ryder, a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that 211 dogs were healthy enough for adoption.**

     Larger issues are raised by this case. How was the Animal Heaven kennel initially approved, considering Eckhart had a long history of run-ins with state and local authorities, and was convicted at least twice of animal cruelty.*

      I’m not examining this case to decide whether Eckhart is guilty or innocent. I do want to examine whether it is possible (more…)

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