Anger Over Handling Of Puppy's Case Prompts SPCA Disclaimer

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Anger over handling of puppy's case prompts SPCA disclaimer

UPDATE: Protest scheduled in support of Libre, the ailing puppy

The Lancaster SPCA's leader is defending her decision not to seek charges against a dog breeder whose puppy was found -- reportedly infested with maggots and 'hours from death' -- on a southern Lancaster County farm earlier this month.   

The Boston Terrier, renamed "Libre" by its rescuers, continues to recover at the Dillsburg Veterinary Center in York County. The Center also continues to provide regular updates about Libre's recovery, drawing a national social media following and hundreds of thousands of views and shares.

But within those well-wishers are some critics of the official decision to not charge the puppy's owner. This as competing accounts of the dog's rescue begin to emerge, and after the formation of a small protest outside the SPCA's headquarters on Prince Street in Lancaster Tuesday.

Initial reports said Libre was found infested with maggots and "hours from death" at the owner's farm by a man there on business. The owner reportedly agreed to turn the dog over for medical treatment -- ailments included sepsis and mange -- -- leading to the intervention of humane officials and a Mechanicsburg rescue group. The owner of the Speranza Dog Rescue in Mechanicsburg has agreed to adopt Libre once he is released from the veterinary center. 

When the rescuers found Libre, the dog was reportedly so undersized that they estimated him to be 7 weeks old when, in fact, he was closer to 4 months in age, initial reports stated. Those same reports depicted an open-and-shut case of neglect leading many to expect cruelty charges against the owner.

But the charges never came.

Instead, Lancaster SPCA director Susan Martin on Tuesday explained why she felt no charges were warranted in this case. Martin's full statement can be found below. 

Martin said her decision not to charge the owner -- who agreed to turn over the animal for medical treatment -- involved her likely inability to prove wrongdoing and make criminal charges stick. 

She also said reports that the dog had been abandoned and "left for dead" had not been substantiated since first being reported. 

Instead, Martin said, the owner had been caring for the dog and had sought treatment with a veterinarian.  

"The farmer had not been neglecting the dog," Martin said in a statement issued this week. "He had sold the dog when it was 8 weeks old. The purchaser kept the dog for a couple weeks when it developed demodectic mange, and then returned the dog to the farmer. It was confirmed by a veterinarian that the farmer had been seeking treatment. The farmer for six weeks had been following his veterinarian's recommended treatment plan. As an officer, I found no evidence that this farmer had been neglecting this dog."

She continued: "The only other evidence that could have proved the farmer had not been giving the dog the medication would have been a blood test. However, neither the veterinarian at PETS or at Dillsburg took blood samples to evaluate if medication was evident in the dog's blood." 

"Therefore," the statement continues, "because there is no evidence that could stand up in court that this farmer was intentionally neglecting this dog, no officer can file charges of abuse."

Libre continues to recover at the York County vet center. They offered the following update on his condition Tuesday: 

"His attitude and appetite continue to improve although he is still very weak. His WBC [White Blood Cell] counts are improving as well. His care and well being are our primary focus. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. He is fighting like a champion!" 

UPDATE: This article has been updated to clarify current ownership of the dog. The farmer who turned Libre over for medical care will not retake possession of the dog. Instead, the owner of the Speranza Dog rescue in Mechanicsburg has agreed to adopt Libre and take possession after Libre's stay at the York County veterinary center has ended. 

Lancaster SPCA statement on "Libre" the puppy by PennLive on Scribd

Source : http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/07/anger_over_handling_of_puppys.html

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