Chester County couple prohibited from owning animals after admitting to hanging two dogs at their kennel

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CHESTER COUNTY — A Chester County couple is prohibited from owning any animals for 10 years after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from the hanging deaths of two female dogs at their kennel, according to the Philadelphia SPCA.

Elizabeth “Betty” Stoltzfus and her husband, John, both of Parkesburg, were accused of killing a Bichon-type dog and a Golden Doodle-type dog at their kennel.

Elizabeth Stoltzfus pled guilty to Dog Law violations surrounding the deaths of the dogs, including a misdemeanor count of failure to keep a 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. She was sentenced to prohibition of animals for two years.

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, the Philadelphia SPCA says. Their bodies were then burned, according to the Philadelphia SPCA.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria which can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals. The disease 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 only 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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