Feds Find Severe Neglect of Dogs and Puppies, Suffering, and Death At Local Puppy Mill

PETA Urges Public Never to Buy Animals From Breeders or Pet Shops

For Immediate Release:
June 2, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Bath, N.Y. – Damning U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports of a local puppy mill operated by Levi O. Hershberger reveal horrific conditions and pervasive neglect, including when dogs identified by workers there as being in distress were denied needed emergency veterinary care and ultimately died.

According to the reports, Hershberger failed to contact a veterinarian for a dog named Brenda who was struggling to deliver a litter and for a lethargic dog named Cassie who was nursing three puppies. Both dogs died within a day. A Maltese named Freddie also died, as a result of a fight with one of his five cagemates.

An inspector documented that one dog’s body was 90% covered with “heavy” mats—a serious and painful condition that requires immediate care, as it can lead to deep wounds, infections, maggots, fecal impaction, and even death. A federal veterinarian found that a dog who had recently given birth and a 5-week-old puppy were denied adequate nutrition and were emaciated—the puppy was so weak that he or she was cold to the touch. Feces were allowed to accumulate a few feet from dog enclosures.

“Almost without exception, puppies sold in pet shops come from massive factory farm–style mills like this one, where animals are treated as disposable breeding machines and left to suffer without adequate care,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is urging people to adopt animals and never to buy them from the stores that keep these cruel operations in business.”

In light of the findings, PETA has asked Steuben County District Attorney Brooks T. Baker to investigate the mill and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible for neglecting the dogs. The group’s letter is available upon request.

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.

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Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind