Lancaster SPCA releases investigation report on sick puppy

Libre in early July.

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – The Lancaster County SPCA says it concluded an investigation into a sick puppy named Libre and found no evidence the dog was ever abandoned, left for dead, or maggot infested.

Lancaster SPCA director Susan Martin in a statement said that several claims made to the media by parties involved in the puppy’s rescue cannot be substantiated. She said the claims contradict previous statements made by those parties.

In a previous statement last week, Martin said no charges would be filed because its cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the breeder intended harm to the 4-month-old Boston terrier since it was in the care of a licensed veterinarian but not responding to treatment for mange.

Libre remains in critical condition but is slowly improving. On its Facebook page, Dillsburg Veterinary Center posted that his weight is up a half pound, he can now sit up, and over the weekend was able to stand on all fours for a couple of seconds.

Martin said the concluding evidence obtained by the Lancaster County SPCA is as follows:

1. A produce driver, associated with the rescue group that obtained the sick puppy on July 4, 2016, regularly delivered to the breeder of the puppy.

2. The rescue group approached the breeder and asked if he would be willing to allow them to have a puppy that appeared to be sick. The breeder of the puppy explained to the rescue group that he had been treating the puppy and it was not responding to treatment.

3. The breeder willingly gave the puppy to the rescue group when they informed the breeder that they would be willing to take him to another veterinarian for further treatment.

4. The produce driver was questioned to whether or not he had previously seen sick dogs on the property or any signs of previous neglect on previous visits to the breeder. The produce driver confirmed he had never seen previous signs of neglect as he saw the other two dogs owned by the breeder when he delivered to the farm previously. The produce driver stated that the other dogs owned by the breeder previously always appeared of good weight and healthy. It was also confirmed by individuals associated with the rescue group that the kennel was clean inside and the remaining two dogs appeared in good health the day the puppy was obtained.

5. The puppy was taken by the rescue group immediately to an emergency veterinarian for treatment. The dog was treated by two veterinarians at the emergency clinic. One treating emergency vet verbally confirmed that there were no maggots observed by him on the puppy. The other treating vet’s report also confirmed there was no treatment for maggots during the overnight stay at the emergency treatment center.

6. The investigating officer went to the breeder’s property to question the condition of the puppy. The breeder’s kennel inside was clean and two remaining dogs on the property had food and water and appeared to be of good weight which was consistent with the produce driver’s story. The Officer confirmed with the breeder’s vet that the dog was receiving treatment for demodectic mange. The breeder provided medical records in addition to showing prescribed joint medication being given to one of the older dogs of the remaining two on the property. The breeder indicated that the puppy was a Boston terrier and the mother was one of the dogs on the property. The mother dog had a previous litter with no issues. The investigator saw slight patches of hair missing on the mother dog when viewed up close and informed the breeder to not breed until his vet could confirm it was safe to breed her. Subsequently, the breeder willingly offered to surrender the mother dog to the Lancaster County SPCA. Pictures were obtained provided by individuals associated with the rescue group 48 hours prior to the rescue group taking the puppy showing the puppy was urinating and defecating normally. A health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian was completed indicating the puppy was healthy at eight weeks old and able to be sold by the breeder indicating no sign of disease or sickness was prevalent.

7. The next day the puppy was transferred to another treating veterinary practice where the puppy currently remains under treatment. The current treating vet was contacted by the investigating officer of the case. Officer Martin informed the current treating vet with the name and contact info of the breeder’s vet and relayed the previous treatment that had been given by the breeder’s vet. The current vet indicated that he only removed two maggots from the top of the skin. The current treating vet also indicated that he was trying a different type of treatment that was new and hoped the dog would respond better.

8. All treating vets agreed that the proper treatment provided by the breeder’s vet was appropriate. Two of the treating vets could not speculate how long the puppy had been sick and verified that it was likely the dog was being treated and was not responding. Both treating vets indicated that this type of mange can be difficult to treat and requires a lengthy treatment. Officer Martin asked two of the treating vets if they could testify in court to the fact that the dog was not under current treatment and if it the dog did not appear to be treated previously. Both vets indicated to Officer Martin that they would not be comfortable testifying in court that true intentional neglect existed since there was confirmation that the puppy was being treated and not responding to treatment.

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