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Vet: Sprakers dogs not in good shape

SPRAKERS -- Dozens of dogs, seized from a breeder in Sprakers earlier this month are not in good health; thats according to veterinarians who are helping to rehabilitate the border collies at Highland Farms.  They say the dogs all have tape worms, some are malnourished and others have major dental issues.  

The breeder, Herbert Weich was charged with a violation for failure to provide adequate shelter.  35 dogs were removed from his property on January 7th but he wants 10 of the breeding female dogs back.  The veterinarians at Highland Farms say now that theyve had a chance to closely exam the dogs, they along with the Montgomery County SPCA dont feel like Weich should get any of the dogs back and they want the puppies and four other dogs that he was allowed to keep, pulled from his property too.  

Their condition was much worse than we were initially expecting having had limited access to the animals prior to their surrendered, says Bethany Schumann-McGhee a local attorney who sits on the board of the Montgomery County SPCA.  The dogs were taken to Highland Farms in Otsego County where vets have been caring for them over the past two weeks. None of them are healthy enough to undergo a routine spay or neuter procedure but they're being as proactive as they can with the dog's care, trying to bring their weight up, solve any coat problems, dental problems and worm problems that they have, that are pretty pervasive, Schumann-McGhee says.

Weich was allowed to keep nine puppies and four adult female dogs under the condition he bring them inside when temperatures dip below freezing but now there is an on-going investigating into even that arrangement.  I have no reason to believe that the animals that have remained in Sprakers are in any better condition than the animals that have gone to highland farms, Schumann-McGhee says.

A veterinarian from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets is now examining the dogs still in Sprakers and the 10 seized female collies that Weich wants returned to him.  State Police and the Attorney Generals office are waiting for that report before deciding whether to seize the remaining dogs, give the 10 dogs back to Weich or press criminal chargers.  In the meantime, State Police tell CBS6 that troopers have been making periodic visits to Weichs property to ensure he is following the terms of the agreement and keeping the remaining dogs indoors during inclement weather.

We have to remember that as much as this is an emotional issue for so many people, we have to be mindful of due-process for the owner of the property, of making sure that his rights are protected, that the state police have time to undertake their investigation, that the animals are protected, it's a very delicate balance and there are such strong emotions on every side, says Schumann-McGhee.  A court date of February 5th has been set for a judge to determine the fate of the dogs, if further chargers are not filed before then.  

For more information on the dogs that were seized:

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