Amish dog breeders face charges
Twenty kennels in North Perth are being cited for a number of care offenses

Written by Ian Cumming

Twenty licensed Amish kennels in East Perth are coming under organized opposition from those opposed to their methods of raising pups.

One Old Order Amish couple, Menno and Viola Streicher, who contacted Ontario Farmer about their plight, are each facing nine criminal charges under Section 24 of the Criminal Code, slated to be heard in court on Jan. 22 in Stratford. Prior to the OSPCA raid on the Streicher farm, which also has hogs and beef along with its 30 adult dogs bred to produce pups, documentation has been produced, which suggests a concentrated effort to shut down licensed Amish dog raising operations that do not have electricity.

A Sept. 4, 2012 internal report, prepared by the township CAO Grant Schwartzentruber and bylaw enforcement officer Kristen Bickers, and obtained by Ontario Farmer, states that recent emails circulated by animal rights activists to their county and Waterloo, "suggested that due to the Amish way of life, they are unable to provide these dogs with the basic necessities including electricity, heat and water."

The report states that the 20 local kennels are inspected on a yearly basis, before any licenses are renewed. The report noted that since 2007, when the bylaw was updated "to deter puppy mills, there have been few incidents of concern." However the report noted that "accusations have been made that the officers inspecting these kennels are observing these conditions and not reporting them to the proper authorities or attempting to remove animals that may be in distress."

The report concluded that the by-law was being reviewed again "with the hopes of set fines being added to the by-law."

The fines by the Streichers, which are separate from any municipal fines being set, could reach a maximum of $540,000 each under provincial legislation.

On Sept. 14 the OSPCA raided the Streicher's farm in East Perth. The orders issued by Inspector Carol Vanderheide, and later updated on other visits on Oct. 4 and Nov. 21, ask for the Amish couple to: monitor dogs for fighting, check dogs daily for injury, vet care for injured puppies, provide toys to dogs to enhance the environment and prevent boredom, plus separate dogs and puppies that are aggressive.

The nine criminal charges are focused on two dogs -one a cocker spaniel Josie -that had been injured in a dog fight and was therefore under distress. The other dog, Polly, a golden retriever, was "not receiving proper standards of care."The first five charges dealt specifically with these two dogs not receiving the proper and prescribed standards of care. The other charges were: unsanitary conditions, not appropriate ventilation, not appropriate light, plus animals running with other animals in an enclosed pen "that may pose a danger" to other animals.

The injury to Josie came when he was clipping her toe nails in front of the new buyers, said Streicher. "I clipped one nail too short and drew blood. I didn't think anything of it."

They have sold over 300 pups in the last two years "and only two have been brought back," he said. Getting older and having a heart condition, he needed a lighter workload and so branching off into owning a licensed kennel seemed like a good fit, said Streicher. "Then they blow us up with this."

Lacking expert legal representation, the best result facing him at the moment is a plea bargain. If he pleads guilty, that would result in him never owning animals again, said Streicher. "Am I going to be able to drive a horse," he asked. "That's my transportation."

Ontario Farmer also was provided with the official notification from East Perth Township, that they had cancelled Stretcher's kennel license in November.

Copyright © 2013-2014 Canadian Landowner Alliance.