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Pa. man accused of animal cruelty

March 06, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg man accused of abandoning six chow mix puppies in the snow last month faces 35 citations and nearly $14,000 in fines.

The 7-month-old puppies were found around 6 p.m. on Feb. 7 in a remote, mountainous area near Mont Alto, Pa., in a half-foot of snow, said Carol Dague, a Humane Society police officer at the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter.

Dague and Georgia Martin, a state dog law enforcement officer, filed the nontraffic citations against Frank Burkett, 40, of 2942 Wayne Road, on Monday at District Justice Larry Meminger's office.

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The citations include six counts of failing to confine the dogs, eight counts of failing to vaccinate the six puppies and their parents, eight counts of failing to obtain licenses for the dogs, six counts of abandonment, one count of making false statements and six counts of cruelty to animals, according to court records.

The citations carry a maximum fine of $12,900, and Martin recommended Burkett pay an additional $1,080 in restitution to the animal shelter, which has taken in the puppies, according to court records.

Burkett previously had been cited for failing to obtain dog licenses in May 2001, Martin said.

Summonses were mailed to Burkett Monday. Upon receipt, he has 10 days to enter a guilty or not guilty plea, according to court records.

If he fails to respond to the summonses, a bench warrant can be issued for his arrest.

Burkett has an unlisted phone number and his number was not included in court records.

The officers linked the puppies to Burkett after a dozen witnesses said they saw them on his property recently, according to court records.

Since their rescue, the puppies have received their basic vaccinations and are up for adoption. So far one of the three females has been adopted, said Jim Hardy, executive director of the shelter.

"They are all in good health and have all had good baths," Hardy said. "Their demeanors have changed for the better since we got involved with the rescue. They were so frightened and so shy, now they are personable."

"They are happy little campers," Dague said.

Staff at the shelter named the furry brown dogs after characters in Disney's "The Little Mermaid," including Flounder, Seahorse, Ariel, Starfish, Sebastian and Coral, Dague said.

Hardy said the puppies have received a lot of attention from the community.

Both Hardy and Dague commended the shelter staff for coping with six new arrivals to an already full house.

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