For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Armed with a damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing that four puppies died without veterinary care at a puppy mill in Perry Township operated by Enos Shetler, PETA rushed a letter to Morrow County Prosecutor Thomas Smith asking him to investigate the facility—which recently confined about 80 dogs—and file applicable charges against those responsible for the neglect.
According to a recent report, on May 1 a USDA veterinarian discovered that the puppies had died and that, prior to their deaths, Shetler knew that the dogs were “failing to gain weight” but didn’t consult a veterinarian. After three of the dogs died, Shetler still didn’t contact a veterinarian, and a fourth died days later.
“Puppies in pet stores come from miserable mills like this one, where dogs were left to languish and die,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA urges Morrow County authorities to prosecute those responsible for this deadly neglect and calls on everyone to avoid buying from breeders or pet stores, which keep operations like this one in business, and to adopt from shelters instead.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Smith follows.
August 14, 2023
The Honorable Thomas Smith
Morrow County Prosecutor
Dear Mr. Smith:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for fatally neglecting dogs at a breeding facility operated by Enos Shetler at 5562 Township Rd. 1 in Perry Township. PETA hopes investigators will visit this facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in canine health and welfare so they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the approximately 80 animals there.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian documented neglect at the facility in the attached report. On May 1, the veterinarian discovered that four Yorkshire terrier puppies had “died in close proximity to one another” without receiving veterinary care. Shetler evidently stated that he “had observed [these] puppies … were failing to gain weight,” but he didn’t contact a veterinarian. On March 22, three of the puppies died. Again, Shetler didn’t contact a veterinarian. On March 25, a fourth puppy died. As the USDA veterinarian wrote, failing “to communicate problems of animal health to [a] veterinarian can lead to mis-diagnosis and delays in providing proper care to animals resulting in worsening of their condition and … additional deaths.”
This neglect appears to violate R.C. 959.131 and/or R.C. 959.13. The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and this report carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for neglecting animals. If you’d like to learn more about the agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do every day.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis