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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal January 6, 2009:

01-06-08 -- Legal Battle Over Esh Dog-Law Violations Ends
Charges reduced to summary offenses
By: Susan Lindt, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

The long legal battle over Daniel P. Esh's kennel violations was finally resolved Tuesday.

Esh, owner of Scarlet-Maple Farm Kennel, 68 Clearview Road, Ronks, originally faced three misdemeanor charges of housing more than 400 dogs and puppies in unsanitary conditions. The charges stemmed from November 2007 inspections by the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

E sh's attorney, Jeff Conrad, negotiated a deal with Assistant District Attorney Christine L. Wilson to lower the misdemeanor charges to summary offenses in exchange for Esh's guilty plea.

Esh pleaded guilty Tuesday before Lancaster County Judge James P. Cullen.

The deal means Esh faces only fines for each charge rather than steeper misdemeanor penalties of up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine for each count.

The original charges were graded as more serious misdemeanor counts because Esh had been convicted of similar infractions within the previous year.

Wilson said the bureau is unlikely to renew Esh's license to operate a kennel for the new year. Without a kennel license, Esh must dismantle his large-scale breeding operation and reduce his dog stock to no more than 25.

"We amended the charges to summaries because his kennel license isn't going to be renewed," Wilson said. "Just based on that, I think this was a fair resolution. The main point is that he may not operate (a kennel) due to his prior charges."

Conrad said the status of Esh's 2009 license renewal is pending, and Bureau spokesman Chris Ryder confirmed Tuesday that Esh's renewal application was received, but a determination has not yet been issued to Esh.

State inspectors visited Esh's Leacock Township kennel Nov. 2 and Nov. 28, 2007.

In the kennel inspection reports, a warden noted that dog food was contaminated with mold, feces and debris, and dogs were housed in enclosures smeared with feces. Esh was also charged for allowing large amounts of feces to accumulate around cages.

State law requires dog food be free of contaminants, and that feces be cleared daily from in and around kennels.

Conrad said he was happy with the outcome of the charges.

"We were very pleased to get a resolution that didn't make Daniel Esh a criminal," Conrad said. "The misdemeanor charges were excessive. He was willing to admit to the s ummary violations and plead guilty."

The resolution certainly wasn't quick.

A September trial before Judge Howard F. Knisely was delayed a day because of a host of pretrial motions.

Then, about an hour into Esh's trial, Conrad requested and was granted a mistrial based on testimony from Bureau inspector Kristen Donmoyer, who inspected Esh's kennel.

Donmoyer said she filed charges against Esh based on what she saw at the kennel, "as well as Mr. Esh's admission of guilt that it had been more than one day" since he had cleaned the kennels.

Knisely ruled for the mistrial because Donmoyer's use of the word "guilt" could have influenced the jury's perception of Esh's actions.

Then Wilson raised an objection to Conrad's opening statement, in which he said Gov. Ed Rendell directed the bureau to hire a SWAT team of inspectors, including Donmoyer, with only one purpose: "to shut (Esh) down."

Wilson objected that Conrad told jurors Esh could lo se his kennel license as a result of the trial's outcome. Attorneys are not allowed to mention to jurors the possible penalties that may result if a defendant is convicted.

Conrad maintained Tuesday that Rendell's directive for a Bureau crackdown on irresponsible breeders has resulted in excessive, subjective enforcement against good breeders.

"It almost seems as though they've gone so far that they've taken (enforcement) to the extreme," Conrad said. "Some (inspectors) will use bravado instead of tact. They'll come in and scream at kennel operators. A lot of (breeders) are Amish and they're like, 'Whoa, what am I supposed to do?' Are we out to get them or are we out to get them in compliance?"

Conrad said he welcomes cases like Esh's because breeders shouldn't be criminalized now that the state kennel regulations have been made more stringent.

"The government has changed the scrutiny with which they're giving these kennels nowadays," he said. "It's a fa ct tha t what was once OK is not OK now. (Esh) wants to comply. The state can make headway by educating (breeders). Punishment does not make headway."

Esh's father, John E. Esh, holds a kennel license to keep 251 or more dogs at Twin Maple Farm, also at 68 Clearview Road, Ronks.

The elder Esh also was cited after the November 2007 inspections with misdemeanor charges for unsanitary conditions and incomplete records of rabies vaccinations. Like his son, Esh was charged with more serious violations because of prior convictions, and, like his son, John Esh negotiated a deal to have the charges lowered to summary offenses when he pleaded guilty in February 2008.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The interesting thing is so far all this has proved is it was possible to close non-conforming kennels prior to the new PA dog law as the two examples presented were violations of the old exsiting law.
Micvhael Tefts[/b]

The outcome in these 2 cases would NOT have been the same before the law was passed:cases like this were routinely shoved under the carpet with kennel owners getting small fines and then allowed to continue as before.

The climate of public opinion has shifted; I see the response to the 2 cases mentioned as evidence of this.

Quote from above article:
"The government has changed the scrutiny with which they're giving these kennels nowadays," he(Conrad, a puppymill lawyer) said. "It's a fact that what was once OK is not OK now."

And the fact that the media is writing articles about these cases is also new-

We want this industry out of Pennsylvania- should we tell them that they're welcome in Rhode Island?

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Continuing my response to Mike:

So, while technically those 2 mills could have been shut down before the new law was passed, it simply wouldn't have happened. The climate for better enforcement has changed here because of the new law.

But more importantly, in my opinion we needed specific new laws, because the mill dogs have suffered for years under what was more or less legalized cruelty:

It's been legal here to house dogs 24/7 in cages so small they can barely stand, drenched in feces and urine dripping from cages stacked on top of one another, with dogs sweltering in unventilated barns and freezing in below zero temperatures in the winter. Among other things.

Under the new law, daily life will improve for the dogs. And hopefully it will prove too expensive to comply for some of these folks who have been a blight on this state for too many years, and they'll shut down their operations.

And of course, I know you wouldn't want them to open up shop in Rhode Island- no one in their right mind would want to deal with the mess we've been dealing with here all these years. You might not agree with the way we've handled it, but at least we're trying to do something here to shut the mills down, instead of turning a blind eye like most states.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is not true and you know it. The violations that he received was in 2007. It wasn't legal then just like it is not legal now[/b]
This is what I know to be factual:

Part of the new law specifies larger cages, no stacking, and temperature controls as well as excercise requirements.

There were no requirements for the above, so dogs have been housed in deplorable conditions quite legally.

That's why the legislation was written to specifically address those issues.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Please there are federal standard the needed to be maintained which do specify crate size cleanliness etc. That is what thes individules were prosecute on in the first place. If the diffence is a change in culture then it is further evidence a new law was not needed. That if there was a will to prosecute that was possible uner the old legilation.

and for most of the housing condition provision of the bill It is really hard to assess because well they do not exist yet. because well they were deferred to a committee.,[/b]
The change in culture was not some sort of spontaneous occurance- it came about because of the hard work to educate the public by supporters of the new dog law and the anti-puppymill movement.

As far as what passed for "OK" and legal in the housing of dogs prior to Oct. 2008:

Would you stick Macie in a tiny wire floored cage for the rest of her life-feet never to touch the ground again, balancing on the wires cutting into her pads, never excercised,no vet exams - stacked in a cage so that urine and feces rained down on her daily? Would it be OK with you if she sweltered in a 100 degree shed for days on end and froze in the winter when it got below zero? I don't think so.

So why do you think all of the above is OK for the thousands of dogs in the puppymills in Pennsylvania?
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