Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pennsylvania Puppy Mill Vet Thomas Stevenson Charged with Animal Cruelty

Think of all the horrors that animal advocates list:

  • Unnecessary and/or excessive torment and pain of animals used in research;
  • Horrifying conditions for factory farm animals
  • Unspeakable cruelty and deprivation suffered by puppy mill dogs

. . . and others.

There is one class of professionals whose hand is complicit in all of these atrocities. That is veterinarians. More often than not, they are spared the focus of investigations into these practices. But not this time.

While working with an undercover SPCA officer to investigate a puppy mill operation, Helen Smith went to Country Lane Kennels in the hopes of obtaining a one-eyed dog she had seen there.

According to the article posted on, Smith witnessed the following act, perpetrated by veterinarian Thomas Stevenson, who was providing his er, uh, services to this horrific place:

"Stevenson treated a 9-week-old mixed poodle's already injured and bleeding tail by 'soaking it in scalding water' and then cutting it off with shears 'without sedation or prior numbing of the tail.' Smith said:

"The dog was screaming, and screaming, and screaming . . . You could see the blood. You could see the exposed bone."

The article says that Stevenson is the "vet of record" for most of the largest kennels -- aka Puppy Mills -- in Pennsyvania, a notorious puppy mill state. Libby Williams, of New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse, reportedly received dozens of complaints about sick dogs that had been under Stevenson's responsibility.

The article further reports that Stevenson "was named in a New Jersey consumer-fraud lawsuit against Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus of CC Pets, one of the largest puppy brokers" [aka Puppy Mills] "in Pennsylvania. The New Jersey suit alleges Stevenson provided CC Pets with fraudulent health certificates."

The attorney for the plaintiffs accused Stevenson of conspiring with the kennal operation to conduct substandard or nonexistent veterinary exams on dogs.

Of note, in the article, our hero Helen Smith said of her investigation: "The state should be doing this . . . but they're not. That's why volunteers have to get involved. If the inspectors won't do their jobs, then somebody has to help these dogs."

Hmm, the same could be said about vet boards not doing their jobs. Oh, wait, the vet boards are the states too! Right Ms. Smith!

I'd like to urge everyone to sign the online petition urging the State of Pennsylvania to permanently revoke Stevenson's license. Not that they will. But we need to make our voices heard.

Here's the petition, and some more links on this case:

Petition to Revoke the License of Thomas Stevenson

Pet articles on vet Thomas Stevenson

Article on Helen Smith's witnessing Stevenson's cruel act

Consumer Lawsuit Moves Forward Against Kennels "served" by Stevenson

The Truth About Puppy Mills

Stoltzfus Puppy Mill Shut Down for Six Months