Update Sept. 28, 2010: David Yoder has pleaded guilty to 74 counts of illegal destruction of animals and will pay a $505 fine. Not much of a penalty for such heinous torture suffered by the 93 dogs he gassed in groups of 5-6 in a makeshift carbon monoxide gas chamber.
Yoder has already lost his USDA license to operate as a wholesale dog breeder. He also lost hisÂ local kennel license.
For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.Â
Original report: A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)Â Animal Care inspector, Andrea D’Ambrosio,Â wrote in an inspection report on July 16, 2010 that the previous day she found that New York commercial dog kennel breeder "took it upon himself to depopulate his kennel and euthanize his own dogs".
"Euthanize", though, is a euphemism for what happened. The breeder, David Yoder of Romulus, New York, took a whelping box that he fitted with a metal door with a hole inÂ it. He put the exhaust pipe of a 3 horse power engine and pumped carbon monoxide gas into the box filled with dogs. He killed 78 adult dogs and 15 puppies in this way. He killed dogs in groups of 5-6, all carried out in front of the other dogs in his kennel.Â
As for himself, Yoder left the dogs alone some of the time because the fumes gave him a headache. D’Ambrosio noted in her report the gassing "potentially caused high levels of behavioral stress and unnecessary levels of discomfort" to all of the dogs. Indeed.
Yoder’s killing of these dogs violated Animal Welfare Act regulations. 9 CFR 1.1Â For more on AWA regulations for commercial dog breeders….Â
Go here for a look at the scathing audit of USDA inspections of puppy mills and pending federal legislation to try to improve conditions for dogs trapped in the pet trade.
The Yoders’ USDA license for their kennel called Black Diamond Acres was cancelled on July 28, 2010, too late for the dogs and after repeated violations of USDA regulations. Attached below for downloading is a copy of Yoder’s inspection reports.Â Animal Law Coalition has submitted aÂ request for information about whether Yoder was ever cited and fined, disciplined in any way for the numerous violations, including the ghastly gassing of these dogs.
No one at the USDA mentionedÂ this act of cruelty to the sheriff or district attorney of Seneca County, but a report has now been filed by Mary Ann Kowalski of the Seneca County SPCA, who discovered the inspection report buried in USDA online files. Yoder’s gassing of these dogs surely amounts to cruelty if not torture in violation of NY law. NY CLS Agr & M Â§ 350, et seq.Â
What about the state regulators? This horrific act of cruelty violated New York law regulating pet dealers. NY CLS Ag. & Mkts. Sec. 401. Well, according toÂ Ana M. Colon, LVT, Pet Dealer Program Manager, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Animal Industry, explains,Â "Our licenses pertain to retail level sellers. Mr. Yoder is/was a wholesale seller."
A "pet dealer"Â is defined asÂ "any personÂ who engages in the sale or offering for sale of more than nine animals per year for profit to the public. Such definition shall include breeders who sell or offer to sell animals; provided that a breeder who sells or offers to sell directly to the consumer fewer than twenty-five animals per year that are born and raised on theÂ breeder’s residential premises shall not be considered a pet dealer as a result ofÂ selling or offering to sell such animals. Such definition shall further not include duly incorporated humane societies dedicated to the care of unwanted animals which make such animals available for adoption whether or not a fee for such adoption is charged." NYS CLS Ag. & Mkts. Sec. 400
State inspectors say the law is impossible to enforce. They say they cannot prove a breeder, for example, sold dogs, especially more than 25, directly to the public. The law is weak anyway, allowing dogs to live in cages 24/7 with wire flooring with minimal care and no exercise and limited protection from the weather.Â NY CLS Ag. & Mkts. Sec. 401. The state relies on the USDA to regulate breeders that sell dogs indirectly to the public through dealers or pet stores.Â
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Atrocities like this should be a catalyst for those of us who live in New York to step up andÂ lobby for changes that will shut down places like Yoder’s and ensure dogs and other animals trapped in commercialÂ facilities have plenty of space, good veterinary care, exercise and socialization and euthanized humanely only when it is appropriate. Breeders and dealers profiting off of these dogsÂ shouldn’t be allowed toÂ treat them like inanimate objects, inventory, that they stuff into cages and ignore or asÂ in this case, torture and brutally destroy.Â The next legislative session begins in January….