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12-20-08 -- Dog Wardens Shut Down Lancaster County Kennel
PA Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement

HARRISBURG – A Lancaster County dog kennel was shut down today by state dog wardens, who removed 96 dogs. Ervin Zimmerman, owner of the Ephrata kennel, had fought to keep his dog breeding operation in business since the state revoked his kennel license in 2007.

On Dec. 5, a Lancaster County judge granted an injunction request from the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and gave Zimmerman 14 days to shut down his kennel. He was to keep no more than 25 dogs, the max imum a llowed without a kennel license.

Dog wardens and officers from the Humane League of Lancaster County inspected the property today and removed all but five of Zimmerman’s personal farm dogs. The dogs seized during today’s inspection are now with the Humane League.

Deputy Secretary for Dog Law Enforcement Jessie Smith said the injunction helps bring closure to the case.

“Ervin Zimmerman’s kennel has been unsatisfactory for some time, but his multiple appeals have prevented the bureau from closing him entirely until today,” said Smith. “Working with the Humane League of Lancaster County, our wardens today confirmed that he currently owns only his personal dogs and that his commercial kennel business is closed.”

On Nov. 2, 2007, Zimmerman’s kennel license was revoked by the bureau after a series of unsatisfactory inspections that year. Zimmerman appealed the revocation and subsequent denial of a 2008 kennel license. In July 2008 , the license refusal was upheld during an administrative hearing in Harrisburg. Zimmerman has further appealed this refusal to the Commonwealth Court.

On Feb. 8, 2008, dog wardens, a humane officer and a veterinarian entered Zimmerman’s Ephrata kennel with search warrants. There, they found numerous instances of unsatisfactory conditions and seized two Chihuahuas suffering from injuries.

An unannounced inspection of Zimmerman’s kennel on Nov. 25 found unsatisfactory conditions and dogs with matted fur and visible sores. Dog wardens cited Zimmerman for six violations of the dog law and ordered veterinary checks for five dogs. Dog wardens also alerted the Humane League of Lancaster County to the dogs’ conditions. Only humane officers can cite for cruelty or neglect.

Charges against Zimmerman from the Nov. 25 inspection have not yet been heard.

Zimmerman has been convicted of both unsatisfactory kennel conditions and cruelty, but h as appealed those convictions to the Superior Court. He will also face charges of operating a kennel without a license from July 25 through Dec. 19. Fines associated with each of the charges will be determined by the Lancaster County court at a future hearing.

Zimmerman had previously filed a federal court action to stop the injunction closing his kennel, but that case was dismissed on Dec. 18.
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