A Lancaster County woman is facing animal cruelty charges after the Pennsylvania SPCA raided her property and found 62 dogs crammed in every available space: the house, barn, garage, closets, bathrooms - even in Amish buggies.
PSPCA humane police officers and dog wardens late Tuesday faced what was described as the "overwhelming" stench of ammonia smells and floors covered newspapers with multiple layers of feces to find and remove the dogs in an operation that took six hours, officials said,
"The house was filled with dogs, they were everywhere," said PSPCA president Jerry Buckley, who witnessed the scene, "There were three dogs in one buggy and another dog and a puppy in another buggy. They were not just coming home from somewhere, they were locked in there."
Officials with the Dog Law Enforcement Office, which referred the potential animal cruelty situation to the PSPCA called it a "classic hoarding case."
Many of the dogs - small breed terriers and spaniels - were suffering from untreated medical conditions such as eye and ear infections, officials said.
The PSPCA declined to identify the owner of the animals pending the filing of cruelty charges, but other sources with knowledge of the case identified her as Barbara Dienner, of Lititz, who has a long record of violating state kennel laws.
Since 2011, Dienner received 60 dog law citations for various offenses, including running a kennel without a license and failure to license dogs and vaccinate them for rabies.
She received an additional three citations last week for having an unlicensed kennel (more than 25 dogs) and failure to vaccinate for rabies, following a inspection in November. More charges are expected, state officials said.
Dog law officials said they did not believe Dienner was breeding dogs to sell to the public.
Upon learning of Dienner's history of repeated infractions, Buckley said animal protection laws should be harsher. But he added police and prosecutors should also apply the laws that are on the books.
"That's part of the frustration," he said. "The penalties are in place; they're not imposed enogh."