Kennel owner admits gassing 93 dogs

A Seneca County man has admitted to gassing 93 dogs, including 15 puppies, at his kennel.

According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture , David Yoder of Black Diamond Acres in Romulus told the USDA he was trying to depopulate his kennel. He apparently locked the dogs into boxes, then pumped in carbon monoxide through a pipe attached to farm equipment.

The report said "this is not an acceptable method of euthanasia" and said Yoder was told a veterinarian must perform euthanasia in the future.

When reached for comment, Jennie McWhorter of the Seneca County SPCA said simply "I was horrified. She added that death by carbon monoxide and gas chamber is an approved euthanasia for animals in several states.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets prohibits euthanizing your own animals, and federal law prohibits the use of carbon monoxide in euthanizing animals.

Marian Kowalski, a board member with the SPCA and a member of the New York State Humane Association, teaches a class on animal cruelty, including puppy mills. She says she was gathering inspection reports to use in class this past July and came upon the report from the USDA. She says she then informed McWhorter of the incident.

The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has inspected the animals and property at the Black Diamond Kennels in Romulus several times over the last two years and found repeated and numerous violations.

The inspections have cited owners Barbara and David Yoder for unsafe cage and kennel conditions for dogs including an accumulation of feces on the floor of cages. An inspection on March of 2010 discovered a bichon and two yorkies suffering with several symptoms of apparent neglect that required veterinary care.

The most serious violation came this summer when the Yoders were trying to handle an outbreak of Brucellosis. After the USDA became aware of the outbreak it advised the owners of Black Diamond Kennels to test the animals through the Cornell University Veterinary School. That testing did not get done. Instead the inspectors discovered the mass illegal euthanizing of the dogs and puppies.

The USDA reports shows 78 dogs and 15 puppies were killed through a crude method inside a "whelping box". The breeders set up a small generator which sent carbon monoxide into the box which would hold five or six dogs at a time. The Yoders did not monitor the dogs. They simply left for five minutes and came back to see whether they were still alive. They then buried the dogs.

This method of euthanizing animals is against federal regulations and state law. A veterinarian is supposed to be present and administer medication in a more humane manner.

Seneca County Sheriff Jack Stenburg said his office and the USDA have begun an investigation into the case, but as of yet no charges have been filed against Yoder.

Yoder, who is Amish, doesn't have a listed telephone number.

Read more on this story from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.