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Parkesburg couple pleads guilty to hanging deaths of two dogs

08/06/2018 11:19AM ● Published by J. Chambless

One of two dogs rescued from the property and now in SPCA care.

On Aug. 6, the Pennsylvania SPCA announced that Elizabeth “Betty” and John Stoltzfus of Parkesburg have pled guilty to numerous charges surrounding the hanging deaths of two female dogs, a Bichon-type dog and a Golden Doodle-type dog, at their dog kennel.

Elizabeth Stoltzfus pled guilty to Dog Law violations surrounding the deaths of the dogs, including a misdemeanor count of failure to keep kennel in a sanitary and humane condition, and two misdemeanor counts of failure to notify the Bureau of Dog Law prior to euthanasia of any dog. Elizabeth Stoltzfus was sentenced to prohibition of animals for two years.

Her husband, John Stoltzfus, pled guilty to killing the dogs under the animal cruelty law. His guilty pleas included two misdemeanor charges of willfully killing and/or torturing the dogs. He was sentenced to 10 years prohibition of animal ownership.

The two dogs, who had brucellosis, were killed by hanging, after which their bodies were burned. Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria which can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals. Brucellosis is treatable in both canines and humans, with a course of antibiotics.

All remaining animals on the Stoltzfus property, two Golden Doodle type dogs, were surrendered to the Pennsylvania SPCA. The dogs were brought to the PSPCA’s Erie Avenue headquarters on Friday where they were evaluated medically and behaviorally and will be placed for adoption.

In August of last year, the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Team received information from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law about the killing of the two female dogs. Based upon the findings of this investigation, animal cruelty charges were filed against both individuals.

This case occurred weeks prior to the enactment of Libre’s Law, which would make acts such as this a felony.

“This case involved especially heinous acts of animal cruelty, including the intentionally torturous deaths of two dogs,” said Nicole Wilson, director humane law enforcement at the Pennsylvania SPCA. “While we can never undo this damage, we can take some solace in knowing that this couple will not own animals for a very long time.”

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