SPRAKERS - State police and volunteers removed 13 remaining dogs at a Sprakers breeding kennel Wednesday after 41 were handed over earlier this month for poor shelter conditions.
On Jan. 7, volunteers from the Montgomery County SPCA went to Flat Creek Border Collie breeding kennel on Rappa Road and took 41 of kennel owner Herbert Weich's 60 dogs.
Weich was charged by state police with violating the state Agriculture & Markets Law by not providing adequate shelter to his dogs, police said.
Border collies are shown at the Flat Creek Border Collie breeding kennel on Jan. 8 in front of a newly built shelter. Police this week seized the remaining dogs at the kennel.
Photo by Casey Croucher/The Leader-Herald
The violation stemmed from a complaint police received Dec. 31 that the dogs were being kept outside without adequate food, water or shelter. Police investigated at that time and found primitive housing, food and water on the property, but no animals showed distress, police said. However, as the investigation continued, with recommendations of a veterinarian and consultation with the state attorney general's office, troopers later charged Weich.
The dogs were being housed in plastic barrels lined with hay. The veterinarian deemed that form of shelter inadequate for subzero temperatures.
Weich agreed to temporarily surrender the 41 canines to the SPCA and build insulated houses for the dogs. A neighbor was helping him with the construction of the shelters.
A total of 35 of the dogs taken were border collies and the remaining six were shih tzus. The border collies were transported to Glen Highland Farm in Morris, while the shih tzus remain at the SPCA.
In a news release Thursday, state police said they removed the remaining dogs from Weich's kennel and sent them to various locations for care. No additional charges were filed against Weich.
After Weich previously handed over 41 dogs, Glen Highland contracted with veterinarian Jonathan Davis of Sidney-based Valley Veterinary Associates to evaluate the border collies' health. Davis' findings are detailed in a 36-page report.
According to the report, only six of the 35 border collies weigh 35 to 45 pounds, which is average for the breed.
"The majority are adult border collies weighing an average of 25 pounds," the report says. This classifies the dogs as underweight or emaciated.
"The outward appearance of the Flat Creek dogs is deceiving," the report says. "Since their fur is dirty and matted, it appears they are much heavier ... their nutrition and lack of care placed them in jeopardy of starvation. Most of these dogs have rib bones or hip bones protruding, without any body fat or muscle mass."
The report stated all of the dogs were infested with worms, and while food was provided at the breeding facility, the dogs were not receiving proper nutrition due to the extremely high level of parasites.
"No matter how much they eat, without medical treatment, dogs with heavy worm loads will become anemic and have the potential for organ failure and death," the report stated.
Besides being malnourished, the report also states some of the collies suffer from skin conditions, ear mites, yeast infections of the ear, broken, infected teeth, urinary tract infections, tick-borne diseases, and missing nose and ear pieces. Some show semi-feral tendencies, the report stated.
"These Flat Creek dogs missed appropriate socialization and it may take years for them to relate normally to humans," the report says.
Weich could not be reached for comment Thursday, but he previously said he thought his dogs were in good condition.
"My dogs are fine," Weich said. "If I had wanted to hide something or thought I was doing something wrong, I would have had fences built [at the kennel] ... everybody can see everything."
Weich was scheduled to appear in court for a second hearing Tuesday, but that was adjourned until Feb. 5.
He was hoping to get 10 of the seized collies back, but it's unclear as to what will happen now.
State police said in a news release there are "no remaining canines in the outside kennel area."
All of the dogs are the financial responsibility of the Montgomery County SPCA at this time, authorities said.