ROOT - The owner of Sprakers-based Flat Creek Border Collie breeding kennel is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Town Court after his remaining outdoor dogs were seized earlier this winter.
In late January, Herbert Weich of Rappa Road had 13 of his dogs seized by state police. Earlier that month Weich had willingly surrendered 35 border collies and 6 shih tzus to the Montgomery County SPCA after being charged for violating the state Agriculture & Markets Law for not providing adequate shelter to his dogs.
State police obtained a warrant and seized the remaining 13 outdoor dogs after a veternarian's report determined the dogs were in worse condition than previously thought.
The veternarian's report of the border collies, which are being cared for at Glen Highland Farm in Morris, said only six of the dogs weighed 35 to 45 pounds, which is the average weight for the breed. The majority of the adult border collies weighed approximately 25 pounds,which classifies those dogs as underweight or emaciated, according to the report.
Weich's original violation stemmed from a complaint police received late last year that Weich's 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.
Troopers later charged Weich after recommendations from a veterian and a consultation with the state attorney general's office.
The dogs were being housed in plastic barrels lined with hay. The veterinarian deemed that form of shelter inadequate for subzero temperatures.
Later that month when police seized the remaining 13 dogs, they charged Weich with failure to provide proper sustenance due to his dog's living conditions.
Bethany Schumann-McGhee, Amsterdam-based attorney and member of the Montgomery County SPCA, said Weich has not yet surrendered the 13 remaining dogs that were taken in the criminal proceeding.
"He doesn't physically have the dogs, but he hasn't surrendered ownership," she said. "The dogs are currently being held at Glen Highland Farm with the other 35 border collies he surrendered originally."
Schumann-McGhee said there have been two court hearings that have been adjourned and she's hoping Monday's court appearance will happen. She said the SPCA is planning to file a petition for the restitution Weich owes them for the cost of maintaining the 13 dogs that were seized.
"We want to give him a limited period of time to reimburse us for the cost of maintaining the dogs, and, if he can't pay that money, then he'll have to forfeit the dogs to us," she said.
She said those documents cannot be filed until Weich is arraigned.
The cost of maintaining the 13 border collies, which included boarding and vetenary bills, is more than $15,000, she said.
"We expended 10's of thousands of dollars...it's a lot of money, but [the dogs needed it,]" Schumann-McGhee said. "When this is all said and done, this will have cost about $40,000 or more to take care of these dogs."
Schumann-McGhee said once Weich surrenders the dogs, or is forced to forfeit them over, the SPCA will be cleared to allow members of the public to adopt them. The six shih tzus have already been adopted since they were surrendered in January.
She said she's hoping Weich will surrender the dogs and any others he may have in his house.
"It's the hope of the SPCA that Mr. Weich will surrender the dogs that have been seized by the SPCA, and I believe it's our position to prefer that Mr. Weich surrender any other dogs on his property because he still has some inside," she said. "Given the variety of medical concerns and the overall condition of all of the dogs that have left Mr. Weich's care and control, I don't think it's appropriate for him to have animals in his possession."
Weich did not respond to attempts to contact him for this story.