Candle Light VigilLast night, to honor the memories of the 80 dogs so cruelly slain by Elmer Zimmerman of E & A Kennel and brother, Ammon Zimmerman of A & J Kennel, a candlelight vigil was held with more then 100 people in attendance.

“Animal advocates representing Lancaster’s United Against Puppy Mills, Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, North Penn Puppy Mill Watch in Montgomery County, New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse, Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and various other organizations sang “Amazing Grace” and left 80 chrysanthemums and 80 dog biscuits by Zimmerman’s tractor in memory the 80 dogs shot to death by the brothers.”

“These were dogs with no names. These were dogs that none of us ever knew,” said Jenny Stephens of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch. “These were dogs who never knew the kindness a human hand can offer and these were dogs who died a violent and terror-filled death with no one to comfort them.”

“We’re doing this to give animal advocates and dog lovers a chance to say goodbye to these dogs that were brutally slain,” said Stephens.

On July 24, after receiving poor inspection reports and told to have their dogs checked by a vet, Elmer Zimmerman shot his 70 small breed dogs and threw them on a compost pile and his brother, who was not facing any citations, killed 10 at about the same time.

The contact the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and told them they were shutting down their kennels and although they could have easily turned the dogs over to a shelter or rescue, they decided to kill them all instead. Many of those gathered saw the Zimmermans’ actions as nothing less then cruelty done out of spite against Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed legislation, HB 2525, to curb the lucrative puppy mill business.

“The decision by commercial breeders to kill healthy dogs instead of paying to repair a kennel and seek veterinary care is alarming and will likely outrage many people,” state Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff said in a statement released earlier this week. “Until our state’s outdated dog law is changed, kennel owners may continue to kill their dogs for any reason they see fit, even if it is simply to save money.”

“It absolutely sucked the wind out of me when I heard,” said Libby Williams of New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse. “Is there no end to the depravity of these people? I do think it was spite. But they did the state a favor. People are now learning the truth about the ‘gentle’ Plain people. And this has been in every newspaper across the country.”

“It’s not uncommon for puppy millers to shoot or drown their dogs instead of spending money on medical care,” said Howard Nelson, CEO of PSPCA, cut short his vacation by a day and drove straight to the vigil after he heard the news. “There may have been some spite in this case, but I’m just calling it pure evil.”

“The governor is very, very upset by this,” Rendell spokeswoman Teresa Candori said this week. “He is a dog lover, and he’s outraged by this news. He believes this is evidence that House Bill 2525 is desperately needed.”

“This shooting highlights the rampant problems with commercial breeding in Pennsylvania,” Stephanie Shain of the Humane Society of the United States. said. “This industry is in desperate need of reform and oversight.”

Author, psychologist and animal welfare advocate Jana Kohl has vowed to wage war on Pennsylvania’s Amish tourism industry by exposing inhumane treatment of breeder dogs by the Amish and Mennonite communities.

“Two thousand of the country’s 10,000 commercial breeding kennels are owned by Amish and Mennonites,” Kohl said earlier this month. “One of the ways to impact (this industry) is to shame and embarrass them by putting as many billboards and ads in as many places as possible. We can point the finger to Pennsylvania as aiding and abetting this horrific business that is nothing more than legalized torture.”

On Friday night, people at the vigil called out the names of “the guilty,” legislators who opposed or failed to endorse amending current dog laws. Included were Lancaster County state Reps. Dave Hickernell and Gordon Denlinger, who last year called Lancaster dog breeding “an issue of farmland preservation” and said, “There’s a certain question about the removal of a person’s livelihood. Should an animal enforcement officer be able to throw a person out of their occupation on a given day?”

For her part, Kohl, whose family founded Kohl’s department stores, promises her clout isn’t the only force behind the coming campaign.

“A lot of people with a lot of money and resources are prepared to venture into a campaign like this,” she said. “It’s going to be a bigger and more embarrassing campaign than people expect, and it’s going to shock.” (Lancaster Online)

They blew out candles marking the vigil when one of the kennel owners, Elmer H. Zimmerman, approached those who lingered afterward.

Clearly shaken, Zimmerman apologized for killing the dogs. How could he stop the harassing calls to his Maxatawny Township farm, he asked.

“I’m very sorry this has all happened,” Zimmerman said.

Will this latest atrocity finally wake up the naysayers?? We can only hope. The deaths of these innocents, their blood stains many guilty hands, not just those of puppy millers, Elmer Zimmerman and brother, Ammon Zimmerman but also all those legislation who seem to find it so amusing to do anything and everything they can to hold us the passage of this desperately needed legislation!!

Read more about what some legislators are doing to HB 2525, the love overdue Puppy Mill bill – Will HB 2525 be Amended to Death?

After you read this, you will know what to do; TAKE ACTION!!

Find out what you can do HERE! Then Call, Write, Email!! Don’t let more innocents lose their lives at the hands of other heartless, cruel, money-grubbing puppy millers!!

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