Lancaster County loses last full-time animal cruelty officer

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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is the center of that state’s dog breeding industry and known notoriously for its history of puppy mills. As of Friday the county now has no full-time animal cruelty officer.

On Friday the Humane League of Lancaster County laid of one-third of its staff, including the last remaining cruelty officer Keith Mohler. Mohler had been with the Humane League for at least 18 years. The shelter eliminated 13 full-time positions in total. It is transitioning to becoming a “no kill” shelter and has also closed its doors to stray dogs.

“This is a tragic occurrence for animals in Lancaster County,” said Bob Baker, who has conducted numerous investigations for several groups in Lancaster over the past three decades. “I can’t think of another county in the state where animal abuse is so prevalent with hundreds of puppy mills, an active trade in horses destined for slaughter, a notorious livestock auction, and countless farms utilizing horses often inhumanely.”

The dog breeders in Lancaster County have historically had some of the worst kennel inspection reports and have become notorious around the country. Even though the 2009 dog law passed in Pennsylvania has decreased the number of commercial dog breeders, last year 114,000 dogs were housed in kennels in Lancaster County.

A new group, the Lancaster SPCA, has set up temporary quarters and will open to the public this week. They will alleviate some of the problem by taking in stray animals. They have signed contracts to help provide care for the animals in several municipalities. The Humane League of Lancaster County spokeswoman Mary Wallick says they hope to hire a cruelty officer in the future depending on their budget, but there is no indication of when that would be. Until one if hired Wallick encourages residents to call 911 if they witness animal abuse.

5 thoughts on “Lancaster County loses last full-time animal cruelty officer”

  1. This is a disgrace. I can’t even go there as a tourist anymore – haven’t gone since I found out about the casual cruelty the county allows to go on within its borders. I hope the animal-loving residents of the county make as big a stink as possible and get some help for the animals that desperately need it.

  2. How cost effective is it to use 911 for animal abuse cases compared to using an officer designated for the animal calls? I would not want to be on hold on 911 because someone was taking an animal abuse call. This is nuts!! Once again the silly bureaucrats screwed up their priorities. I hope the local people are as outraged as I am and let them all know how silly this decision is and how expensive it is going to be.

    • can’t you just see the headlines now? ” 911 puts frantic mother on hold to deal with an animal complaint – child found dead on arrival”

  3. And there is the danger of the “no kill” movement. Not only is the area left without the minimal protection one lonely ACO can provide but they are no longer accepting stays.

    No kill only exists by making someone else do the killing. Be it other shelters or the dogs who die on the side of the road where their owner’s dumped them after being turned away at the shelter – so long as the facility can claim that no kill status all is well.

    Low kill is certainly attainable in many communities and I applaud shelters who take this more realistic and more responsible stance.

    No kill folks shame on you… the stray dogs in this community needed this shelter but your “any shelter who euth’s is evil” message managed to get it closed to them. Nice work! I hope you all sleep very warm and cozy tonight.


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