In 2006, three Shepherd mix dogs were found dumped by the side of a road in a northeastern Pennsylvania community - all of them shot in the head.
A male dog, 2 to 4 years old was shot four times. A female dog, 6 to 8 months old was shot three times. Another female dog, 2 to 4 years old, who had just had puppies, was shot between the eyes while chained.
Arnold Eugene Wheeler - a failed dog breeder - was arrested in the case and tried on animal cruelty charges. He admitted to shooting his dogs, but Wheeler was found not guilty on the cruelty charges because under the law it was legal to shoot one's dogs.
He was, however, convicted of "scattering rubbish" and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
George Kitchen of Saylorsburg was the man who found the dead dogs. It troubled him that Wheeler felt he had no alternative but to shoot his dogs because he could not afford to care for them. So Kitchen, a retired captain of the Elizabeth, N.J. Fire Department, his wife, Linda, another couple and a good-hearted veterinarian decided to something: they founded the Eastern Pennsylvania Animal Alliance dedicated to providing low-cost spay/neuter services for the cats and dogs of Monroe and Carbon Counties.
Kitchen also called for changes in state law to prohibit shooting dogs. That was January 2008. Seven months later, a dog breeder in Berks County shot his 80 dogs rather than have them treated for fleas. It was outrage over that shooting that led to the amendment in the dog law last October forbidding commercial kennel operators from shooting their dogs. It remains legal for anyone keeping under 60 dogs to shoot them for any reason.