Update on Cruelty Case at PA Kennel

Miriam “Mimi” Winkler and James Deppen appeared in court yesterday to face animal cruelty charges.  There was testimony from both sides:

[State Dog Warden Orlando] Aguirre said he and two other dog wardens went to the kennel on April 27 for an unannounced inspection and discovered the bichons frises with heavily matted hair and living in unsanitary conditions, which he detailed through a series of photos he presented as evidence. He said Winkler gave up the dogs, which she had recently received from other shelters. Aguirre testified she later admitted they were not rescued dogs.

Dr. Alysia Deaven of Jonestown, Lebanon County, testified the heavily matted hair — a combination of tangled hair, dirt, feces and urine — would have taken “at least a year” to get that way. “Of the thousand dogs I have seen, these were the worst matted dogs I have seen,” she said.

Aguirre said he came back to the kennel on April 28, gave a cease-and-desist order to Winkler and Deppen, and Winkler gave up a sick border collie.

Dr. Korin Mediate of Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County, testified the collie was so emaciated, “it is a surprise the body was functioning.”

Regarding the Neapolitan Mastiffs that the dog warden posted a veterinary care order for and returned 4 days later to find one dead in a wheel barrow, Mr. Aguirre “testified Winkler tried to pin the dog’s death on him.”

The defense:

[Dr. Charles]Westfield testified none of the dogs appeared to have been abused or neglected and only one animal appeared to need immediate veterinary care.
Attorney Patrick Reilly, who represents the kennel owners, accused Aguirre of making sexual advances toward Winkler, but [the judge] cut him off, saying that wasn’t what the hearing was about.

The case is set to resume at “an unannounced date”.

There has been an ongoing discussion on the topic posted in a public forum on Neapolitan Mastiffs since the story broke.

11 thoughts on “Update on Cruelty Case at PA Kennel

  1. If it comes from the Pennsylvania dog wardens or the PSPCA I presume that they are lying.

    The animals are better off without the dog wardens or the SPCAs. The frauds that such people have perpetrated have killed millions of animals, have eliminated homes for millions of animals, have placed several species in danger, and have caused a lot of anguish to a lot of good people. We are better off without them.

    1. Extending the rant a little: We already know that these “dog wardens” continually treat their legal boundaries as if they do not exist. Then the state doesn’t punish them for doing things like breaking into people’s homes and otherwise exceeding their authority, which in fact gives them carte blanche. They are not operating within the law which invalidates any claim that they are pursuing legal law enforcement activities, which means that they should be jailed for criminal trespass.

      1. And it isn’t just the known instances of dishonesty from the last few years. It is knowing that the same PSPCA and the same gang that becomes the dog wardens have been doing this for over fifty years and that they did it so badly that Pennsylvania had to repeal most of their dog laws in 1965. What happened to the knowledge of their perfidy?

  2. Regardless of what Tom says about the dog wardens in PA, in this particular case, anyone who is familiar with the two defendants from their original places of business in New York, New England and New Jersey, I’d venture to guess that over 90% are not the least bit surprised though they are appalled. Both have questionable pasts – and have been reprimanded on ethics violations in the past. The animal abuse is just one more allegation to add to problems that both have been accused of in the past.

  3. I like how Tom says the animals are better off without the dog wardens

    I bet that dead Neo in the wheelbarrow would beg to differ…

    1. I agree with Anne. Hear, hear! Somehow, a fitting end to a dogs life should not be laying in a wheelbarrow for who knows how long while the defendents were attending dog shows making believe that nothing was going on?

  4. I hear that the next hearing is September 17th. I hope they roll them in their own feces along with making them serve full jail time and fining them to the max. Someone needs to make a statement about animal abuse from these so-called “well-known breeders”

  5. Sept 17th has come and gone. Prosecution still has one more witness before turning it over to defense. The founder of a national Bichon Frise rescue group states that these were the worst Bichon’s she has ever seen. Head of PA Dog Law enforcement [an oxymoron?] also testifies. 3rd day of testimony is needed. What’s interesting is that the dead Neopolitn Mastiff in the wheelbarrow was not mentioned on day two nor was the very ill Border Collie. Only the 18 Bichon’s. Maximum sentence possible is $16,000 in fines and 41 months in jail. Local reporter says that testimony was given that Bichon breeder’s son has cancer. What that has to do with the case is beyond me. I also hear that the defense is bringing a cheering squad in from NJ for day 3 of testimony. What that has to do with the case is beyond me, too.

      1. let’s see – defendent first claims that the dogs aren’t hers, that they’re rescue dogs – turns out they’re defendants after all. They can’t find defendents after notice is posted – turns out they’re at dog shows. Two vets, a dog warden, a founder of a rescue organization and another official say that the dogs are in horrible condition – defendent claims that relative has cancer. Dead Neo in wheelbarrow has gone unexplained as has very sick border collie. I’m curious to hear the defense, too.

        time to get the cell ready.

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