UNADILLE, N.Y. – On Tuesday, a judge was supposed to decide if the owner of a local kennel had complied with mandates after dogs were removed from his property, but an investigation into the health of the collies has postponed the court date.
Earlier in January, 40 collies were removed from Flat Creek Kennels in Montgomery County, owned by Herbert Weich, while 30 remained on the property. He was charged with a violation of the Agriculture & Markets Law section 353-B(2), for failure to provide adequate shelter.
The Valley Veterinary Associates released a detailed report of their examination of 30 of the dogs which were removed.
From January 8, 2014 through January 11, 2014, the group examined the animals, finding 10 collies to be emaciated, 13 dogs thin, and only seven dogs at an ideal body weight.
The veterinary report also states that all 35 dogs have extreme worm infestation, skin and coat conditions, and behavior problems. Some of the dogs also suffer from ear and mouth infections, according to the report.
Animal Advocate Attorney Matt Albert, who is working on the case, said Tuesday's court hearing to determine if Weich would receive some of the dogs back if he had addressed shelter and food and water issues was postponed.
"The dogs are clearly suffering from neglect and it's clearly a crime under NYS law," said Albert. "I don't see why it's become a question what should we do what should."
Albert is pushing for additional charges to be filed against Weich.
"However many dogs were clearly deprived of that sustenance in the form of food, veterinary care, medical care, water, things like that that's how many charges there should be," continued Albert.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco says this case is the perfect example as to why he's proposed tougher legislation.
"It would be a felony now to mistreat animals like this up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine," said Tedisco.
The Valley Veterinary Associates says the hair coat of the animals hid the weight loss of the emaciated animals. The animals had prominent skeletal structures, an absence of body fat, muscle mass and severe abdominal tuck with extreme hourglass shape.
The group's statement said that in their opinion, 76 percent of the animals were malnourished due to prolonged inadequate nutrition due to either inadequate quality or quantity of food. No illness was observed to explain reduced appetite, and the heavy endoparasitic burden suggests further neglect but does not explain the emaciation observed.
The group says no illness has been identified to explain the presenting emaciated and thin body conditions of the evaluated dogs leading to the diagnosis of malnourishment as the primary problem.
According to the Montgomery county SPCA, State Police and the Attorney General's Office are working together to review the report, postponing the case to February 5. No further charges have been filed and it is still a possibility that some of the dogs removed could be returned to the owner.