$5.43 per dog: that's the value judge asseses for inhumane destruction

What can you buy for $5.43? A quick meal at McDonald's? A box of cereal? How about the life of a puppy or dog? That is the per animal fine and surcharge handed down to a kennel owner in Seneca County who broke the law by illegally euthanizing 93 dogs and puppies. He put them down by putting them in a whelping box five or six at a time. He would then run a hose into a hole so exhaust from a portable generator would fill the box and kill the dogs.

New York state law is clear. It's illegal to euthanize dogs or cats by using the exhaust from an engine.

45 year old David Yoder of Black Diamond Acres in Romulus had failed a USDA inspection of his property. The federal investigators told him how he was to deal with an outbreak of brucellosis in his animals. He was to get the animals tested by the experts at Cornell University's Veterinary College. He was also to have a veterinarian oversee any needed euthanization. He did not do either.

The Seneca County justice system which initially appeared to be dragging its feet on this case suddenly hit the gas pedal and moved swiftly today. Yoder made a single court appearance in the Town of Romulus. He was read the charges, pled guilty and paid the fine. Just ten days after the story went public his punishment is done.

It's hard to believe the proper punishment for 73 counts of inhumane destruction of a dog is $300. When I talked tonight with the head of the Seneca County SPCA she wondered why there weren't animal cruelty charges tacked on. There are a lot of questions unanswered. Why not more charges? Why did this get disposed of so quickly? Why didn't the USDA hand down some punishment instead of just guidance? What else might be going on with kennels like this that is going unnoticed and unpunished?

Let me know what you think? Some are saying the punishment was fair and everyone should move on? Post your comments below or e-mail me at

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