PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture and the state’s Director of Dog Law Enforcement unconstitutionally singled out Lancaster County dog breeders for relentless and abusive kennel inspections, the Professional Dog Breeders Advisory Council claims in Federal Court.
Gov. Ed Rendell in 2006 “created a statewide team of dog wardens known as the SWAT Team” in response to “intense targeting of Lancaster County Pennsylvania by radical animal rights groups in 2005,” the complaint states.
The Council claims the SWAT Team has “unfairly, arbitrarily and irrationally favor(ed) all other kennels located in counties other than Lancaster County” in conducting “thousands of inspections of kennels”.
For instance, since 2006, the SWAT team has issued 76 “kennel condition citations” in Lancaster County, and none in Allegheny, Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
During that time the SWAT Team issued 329 kennel condition warnings in Lancaster County, none in Allegheny and Montgomery Counties, and two in Bucks County.
The complaint does not state why the SWAT Team has it in for Lancaster County dog breeders. But it states that the SWAT Team illegally threatened to arrest one dog breeder who tried to videotape their inspection, and ordered him not to do it. And it claims that the SWAT Team illegally threatened to arrest other kennel owners if they videotaped the inspections.
The plaintiffs say the public has a right to know about the abusive inspections. They say the defendants illegally use the inspections to single out Lancaster County breeders for punishment, not to remediate alleged shortcomings in the kennels.
One breeder claims SWAT Team inspectors told him that “they had orders to ‘take his place apart to find violations’ of the dog law.”
This somewhat bizarre complaint claims the defendants knowingly and unconstitutionally target Lancaster County dog breeders for abusive inspections, but, as noted, it does not say why the state does it. Nor does it state why radical animal rights groups’ targeting of Lancaster County would make the state respond by whacking Lancaster County breeders again.
(If the state believes the radical animal rights groups’ members are somehow allied with the Lancaster County breeders, this is nowhere stated, explicitly or implicitly, in the complaint.)
The plaintiffs are represented by Leonard Brown with Clymer & Musser of Lancaster.