LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County dog breeder who failed to get proper veterinary care for a sick puppy named Libre has pleaded guilty to a summary count of animal cruelty.
Benjamin S. Stoltzfus, 33, of Quarryville, entered the plea last month before Magisterial District Judge Stuart Mylin and was ordered to pay $904.97 in fines and costs, according to a court document.
Authorities say Stoltzfus admitted he did not get proper veterinary care for the puppy for about a month, even though the dog was suffering from multiple ailments. He also admitted that he left the puppy in a kennel where he believed it would die.
Libre, a Boston terrier, was taken from Stoltzfus in July. When he began treatment at the Dillsburg Veterinary Center, the puppy had a severe bacterial infection, mange, and he was so emaciated that he couldn’t lift his head or eat on his own. He has since recovered and found a home with one of his rescuers.
The case led to changes in the way animal cruelty is policed and prosecuted in Lancaster County. State and local police now investigate cruelty cases instead of Humane Society police officers.
Susan Martin, executive director of the Lancaster County SPCA, agreed to give up her authority to investigate cruelty cases after the district attorney’s office filed a court petition for her suspension. Martin, who did not file charges against Stoltzfus, said it couldn’t be proven that he intended to harm the puppy or willingly neglected to care for him.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman asked state police to take a second look at the case. Police charged Stoltzfus last month after an investigator found Libre suffered “obvious neglect.”Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC27 News App and the ABC27 Weather App for your phone and tablet.