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Discussion Starter #1
The comments following the linked article are worth reading-it seems to me that Lancaster County is experiencing a significant culture clash over the puppymill issue: (click on 'view full comments' at the bottom to see all comments)

Link to article: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/235165

Quote:

Board members gave their OK for three large-scale breeding kennels to operate in the township after the kennels had been operating illegally for years.

The kennel operators could have been cited and fined for operating businesses without township approval. And had they not gotten approval Monday, they could have been forced to dismantle their operations. Board members also could have taken 45 days to make their decisions.

Instead, the board, short one member Monday, granted approvals for all three commercial breeding kennels after a few minutes of closed-door deliberations between new member Valerie Gregory and Chairman William Fisher.

Later, township zoning officer Shaun A. Seymour, who recommended approval for all three kennels, pounded his fists on a table and raised his voice when board members were questioned by a reporter about the appearance of inconsistencies in township zoning enforcement.

Asked why the kennel operators were granted approval Monday when they were violating township ordinances for years, Fisher told the reporter his interest is keeping East Earl Township an agricultural community.

After the meeting, when Fisher was asked by a reporter why he approved Zimmerman's request even though Zimmerman admitted he may not always succeed in complying with the township ordinance, zoning officer Seymour interrupted, pounded his fists on the table and yelled at the reporter.

Zimmerman's kennel, Sandy Slope Kennel, is permitted to house 251 or more dogs at 769 Red Run Road. Also approved for operation Monday were Ivan Ray Weaver's kennel at 914 Centerville Road, which is licensed to house 101 to 150 dogs; and Thomas Martin's kennel, Wide Hollow Kennel, 528 Reading Road, which is licensed to house 51 to 100 dogs.

Township resident Steve Wlodarczyk told the board he opposes all three kennel approvals because the operators have shown they lack integrity by illegally operating for years without the required approval.

"I have no problem with his dogs," resident Leonard Zimmerman said of Weaver's kennel. "I recommend that he gets his approval."

Fisher said the township was notified by the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement that the kennels were operating without municipal approval, which is what prompted the kennel operators to seek the board's OK to operate after the fact.
 

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Very discouraging. I can't help but beleive it's all about the $$. And I am so saddened when they consider dogs as 'agriculture". Ray Weaver rings a bell with me - do you remember posting about him before, Mary?

My heat goes out to all the dogs there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Common Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch names include Weaver along with Zimmerman, Stoltfus, Fisher, King.... you may have noticed my last two posts refer to Ervin Zimmerman (Bocci post) and Irvin Zimmerman (this post)- most of these families have been here for 200 years.

The puppymills here are definitely about money, and lots are run by non-Amish.

But the puppmills run by the Amish and Mennonites are a big part of the farm culture here too- there's a lot of resistance to changing the way things have always been done here- these folks just don't get it.

I remember an interview I saw where someone from rescue was taking a golden retreiver from one of the Amish mills, and the puppymill owner was shaking his head and laughing at the silly "English" guy who was going to take the dog and let it into his house. And the other Amishman who proudly showed a reporter the clever' hamster -cage-like -excersise- wheel 'he had constructed and attached to one of the dog cages so that the dog could get excersize- this bizarre contraption was his idea of good quality of life for the dog-

So when I read this particular article this morning I reacted to the clash of cultures going on here -rural vs urban, old ways vs new- just one aspect of "The Puppymill Wars", but an interesting one.
 

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You are right about the culture clashes. I spent a summer in PA in Amish country and I admire a lot of their values and life style choices. I draw the line with the mills. While we can fight to change the laws, changing the mindset will be much more difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A couple of the comments to the linked article talk about why enforcement of existing laws has been such a problem- I think they're worth quoting:


Quote Comment #1:

"What could possibly be the motivation of these township supervisors?
The motivation is the over 700 Weavers on the voter rolls in East Earl Township. And that is not counting the Zimmermans or Martins...
Basically, they don't care about the animals or non-farming residents. Meetings are routinely attended by plain farmers and the occassional slum-lord, but not by much of anybody else. Our supervisors have no spine. "


Quote Comment #2:

"HA HA!! Welcome to the good ole boy network. Its alive and well in East Earl. Chances are Shaun Seymore, the zoning officer, has some sort of family connection to the puppy millers. and Ervin Zimmerman, remember the Zimmerman Brothers in Berks County who shot those 80 dogs? Guess who he's related to? Funny thing is, I don't remember seeing this hearing published anywhere. I thought any zoning hearings had to be published before hand. Maybe some of our legal eagles need to look into this. I can't believe UNITED AGAINST PUPPY MILLS missed this. On the other hand, maybe if enough pressure is applied to Dog Law and Gov. Rendell they can have thier licenses denied because they were operating illegally. "
 

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Gee, what a surprise. Do you know if any group IS putting pressure on the powers that be?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't have any personal knowledge of who is doing what to protest this, but I will say that this article was the headline news story two days ago : page one front and center with large bold print and a photo.

I think that fact, along with the comments to the online article, tells you something about how the public in general feels about this issue.

Because of the massive campaign to educate the public about puppymills and pet stores that's been carried out here over the last few years, things are changing. Most Pennsylvanians want the mills closed down.

I'll keep posting as the issue plays out.
 

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I'm feeling more cynical than normal today.... but please keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Chris- I know you run your own basset rescue in New Mexico and go to the puppymill auctions, and have seen alot of horrible things- you're so dedicated to helping animals-

When news stories like the one I posted come out it's hard not to be cynical, but I really believe that as people become aware of what puppymills are, and the connection between puppymills and pet stores, that things eventually will change.

I think educating the public is the key-
 
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