Two men charged with animal cruelty after death of nine dogs in Galen

Merlin Schmucker

Authorities in central New York have charged two Amish men with killing a dog and her nine puppies after no one bought the young animals.

State Police in Lyons say they arrested 26-year-old Merlin Schmucker, of Clyde, and 19-year-old Jonathon J. Eicher, of Lyons, on nine counts of animal cruelty each.

Wayne County District Attorney Richard Healy says Friday that when Schmucker failed to sell the Australian red heeler puppies, he asked Eicher to shoot them.

State police say Eicher admitted killing nine puppies and their mother with a .22-caliber rifle in December. Healy says troopers investigated after a highway crew found some of the dead dogs in a roadside ditch Jan. 17.

Healy says Eicher told police that killing dogs under such circumstances is accepted among the Amish. Eicher said he didn't know it was a criminal offense to put the dogs down.

Both defendants were released with appearance tickets returnable in the Town of Galen Court on February 20.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)