Category Archive 'SPCA'

11 Aug 2009

SPCA Outrage in Philadelphia 6: Update, Murder Hollow Hounds Sitting in Small Cages Two Weeks Later

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In this PSPCA promotional video, we see the holding facility where any survivors of the eleven basset hounds taken from the Murder Hollow kennels are still sitting in cages more than two weeks later.

0:44 video

NYM was informed on Saturday by the regional Basset Hound Rescue group working with PSPCA that they had originally been scheduled to receive ten of Murder Hollow’s basset hounds to be distributed to new owners in exchange for a $200 per dog adoption fee.

Either the first appearance of accounts of the PSPCA raid on the Murder Hollow kennels on canine-oriented bulletin boards early last week or attempts by Mrs. Parks to contact by telephone PSPCA officials around the same time were sufficient to cause PSPCA to go on full defensive alert. The Murder Hollow bassets were described to me as “locked down,” their status “frozen,” as PSPCA prepares to fight any recovery attempts by the hounds’ owners.

In that state of affairs, there will be no transportation to Basset Rescue, no foster homes, no adoptions, and certainly no returned bassets.

Instead, despite PSPCA’s own complaints about both its shelters being “full too capacity” and pleas for assistance, this is all about power and who is boss. PSPCA will not discuss the situation and will not even consider relinquishing the surviving bassets it confiscated into the hands of their owners or even alternative care providers (including veterinarians) offered by the scent hound community

I say “surviving bassets” because the Basset Rescue organization told me on Saturday that they had been told that ten bassets would be coming their way. Eleven were taken by PSPCA. It is impossible to know the truth, but people who care about those hounds are very worried that Sappho, in particular, a 12 year old bitch enjoying an honorable retirement as a pet, may not have survived being rescued.

Two of the seized bassets were elderly, and animal welfare organizations like PSPCA are commonly committed to rigid and inflexible patterns of operation. They may have proceeded to spay and neuter every basset hound they took away from Murder Hollow, and it seems not unlikely that the stress of an elderly hound’s removal from her home and familiar people, and the trauma of a pointless neutering operation, could have resulted in the death of an older hound.

They took eleven basset hounds. They had not moved the dogs out of the cages in that holding facility over a week later, but they intended eventually to transfer ten.

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You can get some sense of what these people are like by looking at this video of Howard Nelson, one of the former CEOs of the scandal-ridden PSPCA (since replaced himself), who delivers a characteristically arrogant and self-righteous mission statement, tossing around the usual wild accusations of abused animals everywhere in Pennsylvania in the process of justifying whatever it was that he was planning to do.
2:24 video

11 Aug 2009

SPCA Outrage in Philadelphia 5: Wendy Willard Speaks

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Wendy Willard, M.B.H.

Cat, the administrator of Basset Town Hall, quoted this statement by Wendy Willard, which she says she found on “one of the basset boards.” (I’m still trying to find which that was.)

One of NYM’s own commenters, Denise, posted it this morning, in the comments on the first Murder Hollow Bassets posting.

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First a huge thank you for all your words of support and everything that you have done! I had my third visit today from the PSPCA and again threats of multiple citations if I didn’t cooperate with these lovely folks. I can fill you in the details, but more important fish to fry (sorry, Jeep [the reference to “Jeep” is a private comment addressed to a friend of Ms. Willard’s: Mrs. Peyton S. Cochran, Master of the Calf Pasture Bassets of Maryland]).

I have been deluged by phone calls and e-mails from all over the country, from a lawyer in GA (” forget the SPCA, go directly to the State Attorney General”) to the manager of a shelter in IL (“can’t believe.. and horrified”). The blogs seem to have been in over drive.

Good news is we got a very sympathetic article in one of the two major papers today. A reporter has also called from the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as the AKC and the Chronicle of the Horse (Molly Sorgi? [Molly Sorge] 804-994-2349). My problem is that if I respond personally, the SPCA has made it clear that I must “cooperate or multiple citations will be issued and there would be no PA Kennel License”.

So here is my response to the PSPCA website (www.pspca.org/news), first article about the Murder Hollow Bassets. I cannot respond to anyone in the media or even the PSPCA, but I can let you know. Whatever you chose to do with my information, oh well.

1. Only one dog barking complaint from unknown neighbor, no other complaints. That neighbor has yet to come forth, although all, I mean all have expressed dismay in writing. Never in the 22 years of having a kennel here has anyone come to me to complain in person, writing, or e-mail.

2. The websites indicated that the SPCA left requests to be contacted. The ‘Humane Law Officer’ (her term, not mine) left a card in my door with no information, no requests for a call, no warnings or no citations a few days before the raid. Absolutely none. She could have left a note to call, because I get lots of cards from grass cutters to painters. No mention of any 12 dog limit in the city.

3. Yes, I initially refused entry with a long explanation about abuses due to the new Dog Law. Two Dog Law Officers (from Harrisburg in two trucks), three PSPCA officers (in three trucks, not including the small truck with those tiny multiple pens on the side), and two Police Officers (two police cars) quickly returned with a search warrant.

4. The PSPCA did NOT work with the owner to reduce the number of dogs. Officer Tara Loller repeatedly, repeatedly threatened to take all the dogs if I did not give her 10. Under extreme duress and far outnumbered, I handed over 10 hounds. Talk about Sophie’s Choice in the dark. Then they found Hansel and demanded one more. I gave them my other house hound, taking off her collar and Invisible Fence collar. All the time crying hysterically and protesting loudly.

5. When forced to sign release papers for the now 11 hounds, I explained that Betsy Park [Mrs. James M. Park, Master of the Sandanona Hare Hounds of Millbrook, New York] was the technical owner of three and wrote her name at the bottom of the forms. (Betsy, sending you copies.) Officer Loller assured me that Betsy Park would get first consideration for adoption.

6. A ‘Warning’ for re-inspection was issued, but no other warning or citation. A copy of the Philadelphia Animals laws (17 pages) included 3 lines which stated “No residential dwelling unit shall keep a total of more than twelve (12) adult dogs or cats combined of which no more than four (4) may be unneutered”, was left in my kennels. These laws were never handed to me before or after the raid, and I was never informed of these laws by my Philadelphia Vet or the Philadelphia Dog Licensing Agency that took my money year after year.

7. At the first re-inspection, the ‘Humane Law Officer’ was accompanied by an Assistant District Attorney, Barbara Paul. They found the conditions of the hounds (one bitch needed nail trimming, all done by my Vet) and kennels to be satisfactory (some ceiling insulation tiles were more securely fastened). The indentations in the limestone screenings outside the kennel made by random scratching will be filled with more screenings. That should have been accomplished, but the black cloud over the kennel dropped 6+” of rain on Sunday. Tons of stone are being dumped on the lane first.

8. The DA left her card and asked to be phoned with questions. I e-mailed her a question about the definition of “residential dwelling unit”. Is the barn a separate unit? As it was constructed and only used by hounds, does that make the barn a residential unit? She replied that she could not give me that information because we may be in “adversarial positions” and directed me to the Philadelphia Bar Lawyer Referrals.

9. To date, no one has been told of the location of the seized hounds and no calls have been returned from Officer Ray Little, the PSPCA Adoption Agent. A neighboring Vet who has offered free health care for the life of the adoptees and wants Khaki has not heard from them. David Gottier who wants the two litter mates of his hounds and Sandy McKenna who wants the one year old fuzzy bitch have been stone walled. Dr. Roy Feldman and Pat Renner from my Hunt have not heard back. But there is an urgent message on the PSPCA website asking for foster homes and adoptions, because they have no room in the shelter.

Again, I am asking you to be in the position of the messenger, but feel free to ask me any questions. Thank you SO much.

Wendy

[The posted text also includes at the very bottom the name Julian Praeger, an attorney who may be representing Ms. Willard.)

07 Aug 2009

SPCA Outrage in Philadelphia 3: Second MSM News Report

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The Philadelphia Daily News responded to the Inquirer story with a more neutral article.

Unlike the Inquirer, the Daily News actually talked to Wendy Willard and quoted NYM.

(H)unting rabbits, in special dress, following a pack of howling basset hounds, isn’t exactly a pastime of the masses.

It has, however, stirred controversy on the Web after a recent raid on the quarters of Murder Hill Bassets in Roxborough, home to nearly two dozen bassets used in foot pursuit of cottontail rabbits on privately owned land.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said on its Web site yesterday that late last month its agents visited the property on Hagys Mill Road where Wendy Willard lived with 23 bassets.

A PSPCA agent said they went in response to noise and odor complaints, and obtained warrants when they couldn’t get in.

Willard surrendered 11 of the dogs after the July 27 raid, said George Bengal, chief investigator of animal cruelty complaints for the PSPCA.

A long-standing Philadelphia statute forbids keeping more than 12 animals per household.

Although the PSPCA contended complainants drew them to the Hagys Mill property, critics charged that the animals were taken because many in the animal-rescue field frown on hunting.

Many basset clubs hunt rabbits, not to kill them but to test the dogs’ skills.

Willard didn’t want to talk about her troubles yesterday, but she did say that three of the animals surrendered actually belonged to a New York woman who has been unsuccessful in learning where the PSPCA placed them.

“They are my family,” a distraught Willard said of her dogs.

07 Aug 2009

SPCA Outrage in Philadelphia 2: The PSPCA Strikes Back

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The Inquirer posted a photograph of the wrong house. That home’s owner contacted me by email today asking me to remove the copy I posted of the photo.

Stung by criticism on the Internet of their July 27th raid on the kennels of Wendy Willard’s Murder Hollow Basset pack, the confiscation of eleven basset hounds, and PSPCA’s refusal for ten days to provide information on the hounds’ whereabouts or fate to concerned friends, the Animal Care and Control organization began yesterday to defend itself, first (yesterday afternoon, by some coincidence, not very long after my phone conversation with PR officer Gail Luciani) releasing a seemingly conciliatory statement suggesting that PSPCA was “working with the hounds’ owner” and even thanking (!) the Basset community.

Murder Hollow Basset Hound Update

In response to complaints, Pennsylvania SPCA officers visited the location of Murder Hollow Kennels and left requests to be contacted. There was no response to these requests.

On a follow-up visit by a Pennsylvania SPCA officer and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Dog Law six days later, the owner was present but refused entry. Both Dog Law representatives and Pennsylvania SPCA officers returned later that evening with warrants to enter the property.

The dogs were found to be in unsanitary conditions, and the number of dogs present exceeded the City of Philadelphia limit of 12 animals allowed on a property.

In lieu of charges, Pennsylvania SPCA agents worked with the owner to reduce the number of dogs on the premises and allowed her time to clean and make improvements to the area in which the dogs were housed.

The owner surrendered some of the dogs and is working to clean and improve the kennels prior to a follow-up inspection. The Pennsylvania SPCA is encouraged by her efforts in providing and maintaining a more sanitary setting as well as veterinary care for the dogs that remain.

The dogs are safe in foster care with an independent, partner organization.

We appreciate the outpouring of support for these dogs from the Bassett community.

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Murder Hollow hounds last year. They’ve never looked covered with feces, or riddled with parasites, any time I saw them.

Most of us did not know then that, slightly earlier, PSPCA had planted a much more colorful story with a sympathetic reporter at the Inquirer, which appeared yesterday morning.

Philadelphia resident Wendy Willard ran in tony rabbit and fox hunting circles. Her pack, formed in 1986, was listed among a select handful from Virginia hunt country and elsewhere in the prestigious Chronicle of the Horse, the bible of the horse and hound crowd. The kennel’s Bassets won awards at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show.

Last week the Pennsylvania SPCA raided her farmhouse in the Schuylkill Valley Nature Preserve and found 23 dogs covered in feces and riddled with parasites, said George Bengal, the PSPCA’s director of law enforcement.

“The kennel was a mess,” he said.

Humane agents first went to the house on July 21 in response to neighbor complaints about noise and odor, said Bengal. Finding no one home, they left cards asking the property owner to contact them. When no one responded, an agent and two state dog wardens returned on July 27. Willard refused them entry and as they left the property she threw stones at the officers’ vehicles, said Bengal.

They returned later that day with a search warrant and found dogs living in what Bengal described as unsanitary conditions and in need of veterinary care. Willard voluntarily surrendered 11 dogs and agreed to comply with certain conditions for keeping the rest, including inspections, he said.

“We could have charged her, but we didn’t yet,” said Bengal. “We could have seized the dogs, but she agreed to get medical care for the remaining dogs and spay or neuter eight of the 12 dogs” – the limit allowed under the city’s decades old animal ordinance.

Since there were fewer than 26 dogs on the property (the number required for a state kennel license) there were no citations issued by the state, said Chris Ryder, spokesman for the Department of Agriculture.

The dogs that were removed were placed with Basset hound rescue groups, the PSPCA said.

The PSPCA’s executive director Sue Cosby said they did not initially release any information about the incident because they thought they could resolve the issue amicably with the owner.

“The officer heading the case really went out of her way to work with the owner in an effort to have the kennels cleaned up and the dogs cared for rather than file charges and take all of the dogs,'” said Cosby in an email.

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So if you believe the PSPCA, this is one of those cases of a disturbed and arrogant society woman who belligerently defies law enforcement officers and throws rocks at them, while keeping a kennel full of neglected, filthy, and disease-ridden basset hounds, which hounds nevertheless, despite their pitiable condition, qualify for inclusion as a listed pack under the strict standards of the National Beagle Club, compete successfully at pack trials, and win prizes at the prestigious and highly competitive Bryn Mawr Hound Show.

Those of us familiar with basset packs have a couple of basic problems with the eccentric-woman-neglected-animals story line.

Although Wendy Willard as Master, is sole owner and supreme authority over the Murder Hollow Bassets, no basset pack operates single-handedly and in isolation. There is a staff, in this case of no less than ten Whippers-in: First Whipper-in: Lidie Peace. Hon. Whippers-in: Ginny Hofmann, Judy Hohmann, Pat West, Mary Bentley, Roy Feldman, Becky Forry, Philip Hofmann Sr., Trey Norris, Pat Renner.

The Murder Hollow pack has, listed publicly, all together, eleven active hunt staff members, all obviously drawn from the same “tony rabbit and fox hunting circles,” referred to ironically by the Inquirer.

Now while it is not difficult to believe that one single aging woman alone might possibly, because of circumstances of health, emotional stability, or even poverty, come to neglect so grievously a kennel full of dogs, in this case, we are expected to believe that 11 residents of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Philadelphia, all active and enthusiastic members of the horse and hound community, have all participated in a systematic pattern of animal neglect, failing to clean kennels, to deal with parasites, to monitor hounds’ health or to provide veterinary care.

These would be the same people who, as photos like this one show, don green woolen jackets and wear ironed white stock ties to run through the tick-infested woods at Aldie on warm days. Yet the lazy scoundrels cannot be bothered to clean their kennels. They will spend money on travel to pack trials in other states or on hunt uniforms, but won’t pay for vets. Sure.

Allegations about unsanitary kennels are pretty easy to come up with. Hounds do defecate. Nobody polices every pile of dog poop from the kennel floor the minute it arrives 24/7.

Riddled with parasites? What does that mean, I wonder. Did they see one hound scratching, and infer fleas?

Crediting the PSPCA’s good faith on allegations of this kind requires knowing a bit more about the role, character, and standard operations of that organization. I was confused myself yesterday about how it was that what I thought to be only a private humanitarian organization kept talking about violations, as if it were a branch of the government. I did not understand. They are.

I’m going to take a look at the PSPCA, who they are, what they do, and how they do business in another post. Soon.

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PBBurns, of Terrierman’s Daily Dose, took one look at NYM’s righthand column (Michelle Malkin, Charlton Heston, Islamaphobia, oh my!) and, naturally, decided I’m insane.

His observation that in blog coverage of stories one typically wants to compare a variety of news accounts is perfectly correct. However, in this case, I have a modest level of personal acquaintance with Wendy Willard and the Murder Hollow Bassets, as I’m member of the same “tony rabbit and fox hunting circles” myself. The incident came to my attention via reports circulated on hunting email lists, and repeated on the Border Collie board. The Inquirer story only appeared yesterday morning, and was not being found by Google the same day. I’ve done lots of Google searches. I’ve talked to people from basset circles who have tried to reclaim, visit, or obtain information about the confiscated hounds, and who are familiar with the detailed circumstances of the case. I also talked to the PSPCA people myself. Thank you for your advice, PB.

If I was not acquainted personally with basseting, or if I had first read that Inquirer story, I might not have thought very seriously about any of this myself, and simply shrugged and assumed that the PSPCA was telling the truth and acting properly myself.

Let me give you a tip on blogging, PB. One news story obviously supplied by one side to a pet reporter is not really a whole lot better than an informal account found in emails or bulletin boards. Evaluating either is likely require more than the testimony of a single source.

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Original story

05 Aug 2009

SPCA Outrage in Philadelphia 1

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photo: Karen L. Myers
Wendy Willard and the Murder Hollow Bassets at the National Beagle Club in Aldie, Virginia (photo: Karen L. Myers)

Following packs of beagles or bassets afoot in hunting club uniforms in pursuit of the cottontail rabbit is, like croquet, one of the recherchée passions of the old school gentry.

The Murder Hollow Bassets of Philadelphia (a private pack* founded in 1986) is one thirteen organized packs of basset hounds recognized by the National Beagle Club hunting in the United States.

In 2006-2007, Murder Hollow had 7 1/2 couple (15) AKC English-French cross basset hounds. They hunt on private land in Montgomery and Bucks Counties from September to March.

The sort of people who go in for basseting are typically well-educated, upper middle-class animal lovers of a preparatory school sort of background. In other words, the very last sort of people imaginable to be dog abusers or law breakers.

But neither gentility nor middle-aged respectability was sufficient to protect the Murder Hollow’s Master Wendy Willard from a full scale raid by Philadelphia police, nor did it prevent 13 hounds from being taken from their kennels and turned over to a private animal rights organization hostile to hunting.

This incident has so far attracted no blog or media coverage, but was mentioned on a fox hunting list yesterday, and reported today on the Border Collie Bulletin Board.

The local SPCA raided Wendy’s Willard’s kennel where she keeps her Murder Hollow Bassets on Monday night. They arrived with seven trucks and two police cars & informed her that one of her neighbours had complained about noise.

Neither the neighbour nor the SPCA had previously complained to her, yet she has been there for 22 years.

As it turns out, Philadelphia County had recently passed an ordinance where no more than 12 animals may be kept on any property. The Murder Hollow kennels contained 23 bassets, less than the requirement to obtain a (US) Department of Agriculture kennel licence, but the kennel is just inside the city limits.

Under this law, the local SPCA have managed to acquire the power to seize people’s dogs without warning, by force and by night, and then to take them away to an unknown destination without any accountability.

The police took 12 hounds and delivered them to an SPCA animal rescue “shelter” in Philadelphia. From there the hounds were dispersed amongst other “shelters”.

Basset packs in the area have contacted a Mr. Little who runs the SPCA shelter, seeking to place the hounds before they are put down or neutered (thereby destroying 20 years of Murder Hollow’s breeding programme). After a week, Mr. Little has failed to respond to any of these contacts.

So far, the only response from Mr. Little has been a statement to the effect that that the hounds tested positive for Lyme’s disease but were asymptomatic and are now being treated for Lyme’s and a skin condition. On the face of it, his organisation seems to be trying to rack up a bill for these animals, though one is not sure whether this is to deter Mrs Willard trying to recover her hounds or because his rescue operation has a right to recover its costs from an errant kennel owner. In this context it is relevant to point out that most of those who keep dogs & hounds in south central or south east Pennsylvania will have hounds that test positive to some degree for Lyme’s.

This whole episode seems a totally disproportionate & inappropriate way to deal with a middle-aged woman with no criminal record, who just happens to keep a pack of hunting bassets. It would surely have been appropriate to notify the owner of the new ordinance before conducting such a raid.

To further complicate matters, some of the hounds taken were on loan from another pack in Tennessee (presumably the Upper Bay Bassets of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee) and, despite the Tennessee owner (Eugene and/or Richard Askins)’s pleas, the PSPCA will not tell her where to find her hounds.

* A private pack, unlike a subscription pack, has no membership dues and holds no fund raising events. Subscription packs are incorporated entities. The master of a private pack owns the hounds personally, and simply pays for food, veterinary care, kennel upkeep, transportation, and all other expenses directly out of his (or her) own pocket.

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UPDATE, August 6:

Mr. James Scharnberg, Master of the Skycastle French Hounds, writes:

Please contact by phone and e-mail the following officers of the PSPCA (Pennsylvania Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), headquartered at 350 E. Erie Ave., Phila., PA 19134, to ask about the location of and about adopting the 11 Bassets that were seized from Ms. Wendy Willard, master of a nationally registered Basset pack in Philadelphia County, on Monday night, 27 July:

Ms. Harrise Yaron, Chairman of the Board, PSPCA E-mail: hyaron@aol.com

Ms. Susan Cosby, CEO of PSPCA Erie Ave Shelter E-mail: scosby@pspca.org
TN: 215-426-6300, Ext. 214

Mr. Ray Little, Director of Adoptions and Foster Care/Rescue Groups
E-mail: rlittle@pspca.org TN: 215-426-6304, Ext. 251 Cell: 215-816-5301
Fax: 215-426-4517

Ms. Gail Luciani, Chief Public Relations Officer, PSPCA E-mail: gluciani@pspca.org
TN: 215-426-6300, Ext. 213 Cell: 215-901-9706

Ms. Willard was raided by the PSPCA and police due to a first time noise complaint, and told that unless she released 11 of her 23 hounds to them they would seize them all, under a new 12-dog-limit city ordinance. Since that night, despite countless calls and e-mails to the PSPCA, they have refused to reveal the fate or location of the hounds, or let a large number of licensed local basset hound packs and individuals, and several veterinarians, in the five county area take in the hounds. We have been told only that they have been “sent to rescue” to an independent care facility, and that they are under no obligation to tell us anything.

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SECOND UPDATE, August 6, 1:45 P.M.:

I spoke on the telephone with Ray Little and Gail Luciani, identifying myself as a blogger from Virginia covering the Murder Hollow Basset situation.

Mr. Little was completely unwilling to discuss the bassets. He told me he was not involved in this matter, referred me to Ms. Luciani, and got off the line as quickly as possible.

I was able to reach Ms. Luciani after several attempts. She declined to provide any substantive answers, telling me the case of Ms. Willard’s basset hounds was “under investigation.”

I asked what could they possibly be investigating for over a week in connection with a minor technical violation of a new ordinance unknown to the dogs’ owner. Ms. Luciani promised that information would be provided at the PSPCA web-page at some indeterminate future time. She specifically refused to identify how long it would be before they were prepared to publish that promised information, or what information would be forthcoming.

Ms. Luciani repeatedly said the hounds were “in rescue,” relying consistently on stony-faced invocations of official jargon as a means of avoiding responsive meaningful answers to legitimate questions concerning the hounds’ current condition and location or the PSPCA’s intentions and refusal to communicate with the hounds’ owners, outside veterinarians, and concerned friends of Wendy Willard and the Murder Hollow Bassets. She seemed a bit upset, when I demanded to know whether she was a dog owner herself, and asked how she thought her dogs would react if taken forcibly from her and confined in strange surroundings in a small cage.

Attempts to appeal to Ms. Luciani’s humanity were, nonetheless, not productive. She rapidly composed herself and resumed stonewalling, finally excusing herself rapidly to deal, doubtless similarly, with other callers.

These days, a mass-murdering terrorist can invoke habeas corpus or like Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber, force the government to modify the conditions of his confinement. There is no habeas corpus though for animals that fall into the clutches of self-appointed guardian organizations like the PSPCA.

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Some Corrections, 8/11:

Three bassets seized by PSPCA had come from the Sandanona Hare Hounds. One was a stud fee puppy, one a drafted hound given to the Murder Hollow pack, the third was a retired basset given to Wendy Willard to live in retirement as a pet. Sandanona hounds are given with a contract retaining ownership, and requiring their return to Sandanona if they cannot be cared for, specifically in order to prevent them ever winding up in an animal shelter’s cages.

Some hounds from Upper Bay were at Murder Hollow, but the Upper Bay Hounds were not surrendered.

Ms. Willard evidently erroneously accepted PSPCA Officer Loller’s assurances that Mrs. Parks of Sandanona would be permitted to reclaim her hounds.

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A truculent and self-congratulatory individual named Patrick Burns, who blogs over at Terrierman’s Daily Dose, has a nasty habit of bashing other sportsmen in order to make himself feel good.

Burns came hurrying to PSPCA’s defense not long after this posting appeared, gleefully accepting the PSPCA version of events as definitively establishing that those Murder Hollow basset hounds were neglected and abused, Wendy Willard was a confirmed violator of the law, and a crazy old lady whose hounds should be taken away from her. I am a paranoid right-wing blogger irresponsibly misreporting all this, according to Burns.

The original anonymously posted account of the raid above said: As it turns out, Philadelphia County had recently passed an ordinance where no more than 12 animals may be kept on any property.

Burns is correct that the anonymous poster was mistaken. The Philadelphia Code § 10-103(8) which says:


Maximum Number of Dogs and Cats Allowed. No residential dwelling unit shall keep a total of more than twelve (12) adult dogs or cats combined, of which no more than four (4) may be unneutered, unless the Department of Public Health has been notified and granted a waiver.

This section of the Philadelphia Code was added in 1986, and amended in 1992.

Wendy Willard might have been in violation of that limit. I will discuss why I say “might” in another new post.


photo: Elizabeth W. Harpham

photo: Elizabeth W. Harpham


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