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SPCA: Sprakers puppy farmer likely to face criminal charges

Updated: 01/21/2014 9:57 AM
Created: 01/20/2014 11:39 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy

SPRAKERS - It was freezing weather that originally set off a heated controversy over the care of dogs in Sprakers, but now the weather is the least of concerns for a Mongomery County kennel owner.

NewsChannel 13 has learned that more serious charges could be coming for the owner of the Flat Creek Border Collies puppy farm after dogs have been found to be in worse shape than anyone thought.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now has in his possession the official report done on the dogs that were surrendered at the puppy farm on or about Jan. 7. According to two sources, the information in the report is likely enough to have all animals removed from the property.

According to Bethany Schumann-McGhee, a board member of the Montgomery County SPCA, there's no reason to believe that the dogs left on the property are in any better condition then the dogs permanently surrendered to authorities earlier this month.

"The 35 dogs seized are in much worse condition then initially thought," Schumann-McGhee said. "We have grave concerns about returning any of them."

All of the animals, she says, were infected with worms. All of them have matted coats and bad skin conditions. Twenty-six of the dogs were emaciated and 15 of them had open wounds or other injuries. 

"We're at a point now where we want the appropriate organizations to evaluate the evidence properly and make the right decisions," said Matthew Albert, one of two attorneys who asked a state supreme court justice earlier this month to remove the dogs from Flat Creek.

After kennel owner Herbert Weich was cited for an Agriculture & Markets violation of failing to provide adequate shelter when temperatures dipped below freezing, the request was granted.

NewsChannel 13 reached Albert in his Buffalo office Monday night.

"You guys are in a polar vortex the same way we are here in Buffalo and we want to make sure that appropriate charges are filed sooner rather than later," Albert stated.

When asked if he had reason to believe more charges against the kennel are likely, Albert said, "In a nutshell, yes. I think the evidence now shows we're not talking about mere violations taking place but crimes against animals."

Initially, all parties were supposed to return to state supreme court on Tuesday to make sure Weich was complying with an agreement to upgrade the shelters.

NewsChannel 13 has learned the hearing was put off so that the attorney general's office could read through the report, with the end result likely to be criminal charges.

If that were to happen, not only would the dogs already seized not be returned to the owner, but the dogs he was allowed to keep would also be taken from him.

Albany

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