The Beatles have sang "all you need is love" and this phrase rings true with the 30 dogs brought to the Humane Society of Berks County from Lancaster.Humane Society of Berks County staff and volunteers are giving some TLC to the dogs who were recently seized from a Lancaster Kennel due to "unsatisfactory conditions."

Damon March, operations director at the Humane Society of Berks County, walked past some of the 30 dogs on Dec. 22 taken from the Lancaster County kennel raid, pointing out the dogs' stained paws.

According to a release from the state Department of Agriculture, the small, purebred dogs came from an Ephrata kennel owned by Ervin Zimmerman which had been raided on Dec. 20.

The release stated that dog wardens seized 96 dogs after a lengthy battle by Zimmerman to keep his dogs even though he lost his license in 2007.


"We stepped in to help out Lancaster Humane League," March said. "When a small to medium sized shelter gets that many dogs at one time it can be difficult and even devastating."

Having the influx of dogs was not an easy task but Humane Society of Berks County employees and volunteers knew the importance of beingattentive to the dogs.

"We've doubled the amount of their dogs," March said. "The dogs require more attention from employees and additional volunteers."

In addition to the dogs' paws being stained, March said the dogs were caked with feces. Volunteers and staff members have taken turns giving the dogs baths.

After receiving the dogs, the animals were separated into breeds and sexes, March said.

Then the staff members concentrated on the dogs who needed veterinary care first due to eye, ear and skin infections.

"There were no signs of abuse, just neglect," March said.

"We wish these veterinary issues had been addressed earlier," he added, referring to the ear and skin infections.

Since the dogs were used for breeding, they are going to be spayed and neutered.

The Humane Society of Berks County Executive Director Karel Minor said that the organization doesn't receive extra funding to give these dogs veterinary care.

The organization uses money received from donations, Minor added.

The Humane Society already has operations planned for other dogs, so the spaying and neutering of the new dogs were going to be spread out during a span of a few days before they are available for adoption.

As for adopting the dogs out, the ones that are friendlier and available first, the other ones are socialized and then available for adoption.

"Some of them behave more like a dog than you know, like a dog that belongs to somebody," March said. "Some behave not exactly that way. Some behave like dogs that were in a kennel. They don't know how to be dogs like you and I know them."

He said generally, dogs from puppy mills or kennels can be hyper and not used to being outside of their cages.

Also while walking past the cages, it is noticeable how some of the dogs need to be socialized. Some won't greet those who pass by and shake due to nerves.

March pointed out one dog that was pacing back and forth because he was used to being in a smaller cage with nothing to do but to pace at the Lancaster kennel.

Then, March held his hand up to a cage and a Yorkie followed his hand.

"He is a confident one," he said.

The friendly ones sometimes are the ones children have concentrated on when they visit puppy mills, March said.

Minor said that males from kennels or puppy mills are usually friendlier than the females because they are handled more.

"Sometimes the females don't get any attention at all," Minor said.

March said the Humane Society of Berks County has helped take in dogs before, the society took in some bulldogs from a 2006 raid in Chester County.

Minor said that this incident opened up politicians' eyes of what was going on at puppy mills.

Humane Society officials also address neglect and abuse cases they receive. Staff members encourage residents to report incidents.

The House passed the puppy mill bill in October which helps protect dogs.

According to an October press release, the bill addressed the health of dogs that live in kennels, outlawing wire cages and requiring additional floor space.

The bill also outlaws euthanizations for people who aren't veterinarians.

comments powered by Disqus