Owner of no-kill shelter facing multiple charges - abc27 WHTM

Owner of no-kill shelter facing multiple charges

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A Cumberland County pet rescue organization is under fire after its owner was slapped with more than 100 dog law-related charges by the Commonwealth.

Lori Johnston, who owns Molly's Place Rescue in Hampden Township, is facing 113 misdemeanor charges. The Department of Agriculture, which regulates kennel laws, alleges Johnston is running the no-kill shelter illegally.

According to court documents, dog warden Kristen Penn said Johnston transferred 62 dogs to other owners and acquired 51 dogs after her license was revoked last November.

Molly's Place employee Tom Sabers told abc27 Saturday that Johnston was unaware she was under investigation by the state.

"We are unclear as to what started the whole process of PA dog law and the Department of Ag coming after us like this," he said. "We are shocked. We are dismayed. We are hurt. We are in the business of saving lives and finding homes for abandoned pets. That's all we want to do and at the end of this process, that's all we want to continue to do."

This is not Johnston's first brush with the law. In 2006, she was accused of having a surgically implanted identification chip removed from a dog to hide the dog from its owners.

In an email Sunday, a press secretary for the Department of Agriculture said:

"The dog law enforcement office made the decision to revoke Molly's Place 2013 kennel license and refuse the 2014 license application based on unsatisfactory inspection reports with repeated violations over the years, which included numerous complaints regarding sick puppies. The gravity of these violations are grounds for refusing and revoking a license per the PA Dog Law."

A criminal hearing is pending for Johnston.

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