A damning report just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that dogs were missing hair—a potential indication of underlying illness—or left with muddy drinking water and kept amid their own feces at a breeding facility operated by Lyndal Swartzentruber near Pocahontas. In response, PETA rushed a letter to Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Devon Holder asking him to investigate and file applicable charges against those responsible for the neglect.
According to the report, on August 1 a USDA inspector found that a bichon frisé named Prissy was missing hair on her back and sides and that her face, body, and feet had matted fur—a painful condition that can lead to skin infections and other health problems. A Yorkshire terrier was also missing hair around both her eyes and showed signs of discomfort in brighter light. Additionally, the inspector documented muddy, “no longer potable” water in a bowl with a “dark coating of grime,” while the wire floors of many dog enclosures were covered in “an excessive amount of feces” and “other debris.”
“Miserable mills like this one deny animals proper care, house them in filthy conditions, and treat them as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is urging Randolph County authorities to prosecute those responsible for this neglect and calls on everyone to avoid buying animals from breeders or pet stores, which keep operations like this one in business, and to adopt from shelters instead.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Holder follows.
September 11, 2023
The Honorable Devon Holder
Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney
Dear Mr. Holder:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting dogs at a breeding facility operated by Lyndal Swartzentruber at 8997 Hwy. 251, near Pocahontas. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in canine health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for approximately 60 dogs there.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector documented neglect at the facility in the attached report, which was just made public. On August 1, the inspector found that one dog had many areas of matted hair on her face and feet and was missing hair on her back and sides. The inspector found that another dog was missing hair around both her eyes and that the underlying skin was moist. The inspector ordered that both dogs be examined by a veterinarian.
The same day, the inspector found dogs provided with muddy, “no longer potable” water in a bowl coated with “dark … grime.” Furthermore, the inspector found “an excessive amount of feces” and “other debris” on the wire floors of “many” dog enclosures—making it “difficult for the … dogs to avoid stepping in it.”
These findings may violate Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-103. The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and these reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for neglecting animals. If you’d like to learn more about the agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis