The US state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has shut down a kennel operating illegally without a license in Franklin County, Pennsylvania after learning the owner was hoarding 68 rare New Guinea Singing Dogs.
Additionally, the dogs were unlicensed and not vaccinated against rabies, as required by the Dog Law and Rabies Act.
After receiving information on the bureau's tip line and investigating, wardens entered the Willow Hill, Fannett Township, property on Oct. 13, and served owner Randy A. Hammond with a cease-and-desist order.
Hammond, who is cooperating with authorities, will keep 10 of the dogs, all of which are being spayed or neutered. Anyone who has 25 or fewer dogs is not required to possess a state kennel license.
"Animal hoarding situations are often difficult to address because the owners may be in denial about conditions," said Jessie Smith, the state's special deputy secretary for dog law enforcement. "Thanks to a tip received by the bureau, wardens were able to act swiftly to investigate, cite the owner and make arrangements to move the dogs."
The bureau has filed three charges against Hammond, including: operating without a license, failure to license individual dogs and failure to vaccinate dogs against rabies. If convicted, Hammond faces fines of up to $1,100.
Wardens are now working with New Guinea Singing Dog International in Marengo, Ill., the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society in Fernandina Beach, Fla., Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, the Adams County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Better Days Animal League of Shippensburg, Cumberland County, and local veterinarians to spay, neuter and vaccinate the dogs and transport them from the property.
"I thank the animal welfare groups and veterinarians that have come forward with the expertise and resources necessary to work with the bureau to remove these rare and challenging dogs from an undesirable situation and give them a good future," said Smith.
"Singing Dogs do not get along with other dogs or pets. They are predatory, need constant supervision, and an extensive amount of exercise to thrive. They are not family pets and are best placed by groups with knowledge of the breed," said Smith. "The best help people can provide is to donate supplies or other resources to the rescue groups helping with the care of these animals."
New Guinea Singing Dogs are among the rarest in the world. They are related to the Australian Dingo and have a distinctive high howl. There are none known to be licensed in the state and fewer than 100 in captivity across the nation. Singing Dogs are considered feral animals that are suitable for zoos or with people who have experience handling exotic animals.
People wishing to help can contact New Guinea Singing Dog International at 815-814-4968, or the New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society at 904-261-5630.
Smith said before the passage of Act 119 in 2008, the dog law was ambiguous about the charges that could be filed against illegal kennels, beyond charges for failure to get a license. The new dog law allows wardens to cite for violations similar to those allowed for kennels holding a state license and serve a cease-and-desist order requiring the unlicensed kennel to stop doing business. Failures to license and vaccinate dogs against rabies are also citable offenses.