Friday, July 30, 2010

Murder Hollow Still Not Clear of Oversight

Apologies to Amy Worden for pirating her text, but she says it well and plain, and who am I to restate it in a more ham-fisted way?

She writes over at the Philly Dawg blog:

More Inspections Ordered for Murder Hollow Kennel

The Bassett hound kennel owner in Philadelphia who was the subject of a Pennsylvania SPCA raid last year has been ordered to allow three more months of unannounced inspections.

Under a consent order issued earlier this month, Wendy Willard has agreed to monthly inspections at her Roxborough kennel by the PSPCA through September. In addition she may only keep no more than 12 dogs (the limit under Philadelphia's ordinances), five of which must be spayed or neutered, and she must show proof of veterinary care.

However, it states if Willard receives a state kennel license she may keep up to 23 dogs. (Murder Hollow was listed on the state kennel database with a pending license request several months ago but that listing has since disappeared.)

The court also ordered Willard to install proper drainage, repair and maintain the interior ceiling and remove feces from the barn and runs daily. In return, animal cruelty charges against Willard were dropped.

Willard, whose case generated widespread support among sporting dog and animal owners' rights groups, also was ordered to contact her supporters and "request' that they not engage in threats against humane officers. PSPCA officers reported receiving Internet death threats following the raid.

During one visit by humane agents and state dog wardens to the property, Willard was accused of throwing stones at vehicles driven by PSPCA and dog officers.

This consent order appears to be an extension of an agreement reached by Willard and the PSPCA in January in which she had six months to clean up her property, take better care of her dogs and allow inspections. Neither the PSPCA nor the district attorney's office would comment on the case.

In July 2009, the PSPCA raided Willard's property and filed 22 citations against her for failing to adequately care for 23 dogs on her property, 11 more than allowed under city ordinances. Eleven dogs were removed, most suffering from tick and parasite infestation. (Ten of the dogs were placed with rescue groups and, according to an Internet discussion group of Williard supporters, one died while being spayed at the PSPCA.)

Willard’s pack, formed in 1986, participated in sporting dog competitions throughout the region and won awards at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show.

I am not sure you need to be a weatherman to get the gist of the storm story here.

An extension of the oversight and inspections period suggests the Court has NOT seen the kind of response and attention it expected to see from Ms. Willard.

Meanwhile, Wendy Willard has sent out another email missive asking people to pay for... a lawyer.

Hey, I have an idea.... how about just doing what the Court asked you to do? How about showing a little contrition? How about thinking about the dogs?

Thinking about the dogs? There's not been too much of that in this fiasco! Right from the beginning, it's been a case of "load, fire, and aim," with Ms. Willard not once supply pictures of her kennels at the time of seizer as an affirmative defense, and none of her internet supporters getting it right on basic facts dealing with the law, circumstances leading up to the seizure, the condition of the dogs, or the conditions at the kennel (that's a picture of one of her dogs at top).

The good news is that the Court has ordered a minimum standard of care at her Kennel -- a standard that requires proof of veterinary care.

You can be sure the Court did not step in here because Ms. Willard was already taking care of business.

The Court stepped in because there were real problems, and there are still enough problems and questions that the Court is requiring continued oversight of Ms. Willard's kennel by the PSPCA for at least nine months after the initial raid.


Marie said...

You would be surprised how many people will turn a blind eye to deplorable deeds in the name of animal ownership rights. I know I was shocked.

Trust, I don't want the PETAs of the world breathing down my neck, yet at the same time if there is wanton cruelty and that also encompasses housing animals in filth and squalor, I am not standing up for these idiots.

PBurns said...

Well said.

Paranoids abound on both sides, which is why those of use who stand for dogs need to make sure we gather the facts and get them right.

As a general rule, the SPCAs do a pretty good job, HSUS is a very mixed bag on the national scene and INVISIBLE at the local, while PETA needs to be held underwater until their legs stop kicking.

The point is that each of these organizations have different levels of credibility.

As a general rule, the default position with an SPCA is that they are credible. Not always 100% competent or well-managed (to say the least!) but they know animal abuse when they see it.