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Pa. woman whose warehouse burned found guilty of running illegal kennel

January 09, 2008|By DON AINES

PLEASANT HALL, Pa. - A Hamilton Township woman was found guilty Tuesday of operating an illegal kennel, one that burned down last year killing a number of puppies and dogs.

Magisterial District Judge Richard Alloway ordered Thelma Cover to pay a $300 fine and court cots following a hearing at his office. Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jeffrey Sarver and state Dog Law Enforcement Officer Georgia Martin testified at the hearing, Alloway said.

The Sept. 19 fire at 4987 Guitner Road destroyed the G.O.D.S. Mission Church Inc. warehouse and food pantry, and the adjacent fenced-in area for the dogs. Cover said at the time of the fire that four adult dogs and 14 puppies died in the fire.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, any kennel that has more than 26 dogs of any age during the course of a year must be licensed.

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An investigation by Sarver and the Pennsylvania Department of State following the fire determined that Cover commingled funds from the mission for her personal use. In November, she and her husband signed a consent agreement with the state dissolving the mission and barring them from working with charitable organizations that solicit, collect or expend contributions.

Sarver said last year the fire caused about $250,000 in damage. The cause was undetermined, he said.

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