Justice for the Shiloh 20 ! Punish Dawn Swick!
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August 8, 2017 was the dawn of a new law that was supposed to bring about change in Pennsylvania. It was lamented to toughen laws and to give hope to abused and neglected animals. It has been highly touted in campaign advertisements in this past election as one of the accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s elected governor Tom Wolf .
February 22, 2018 should have been the celebration of 17 dogs living in squalor in the basement of an Armstrong County home receiving justice. Emaciated and dying from disease and covered in feces they awaited rescue. Missing huge areas of fur and open, untreated sores. Locked in crates with latches so rusted they had to be broken open. Living in their own feces, eating the wood chips spread in their kennels to ease their hunger pains.
Dawn Maureen Swick of Pennsylvania a Shiloh Shepherd breeder was found to have committed these most heinous acts of abuse and neglect to dogs in her care. At least 17 emaciated starved neglected and traumatized Shiloh Shepherds were removed from a hell hole in her basement I have pictures of the deplorable conditions of these dogs and the story posted on my page that you are welcome to visit : https://www.facebook.com/savegermanandshilohshepherds/
From Green Hill Veterinary Care-their story:
"Last night was yet another reminder that so many victims of cruelty are out there suffering at the hands of those who's responsibility it is to, at the very least, provide for their basic needs. We spent last night at Green Hill Veterinary Care with five Shepherds who have spent the last two years in cages. By "spent" I mean they lived in them twenty four hours a day, twelve months a year, for two long years.
We can only hope there were windows so that at least they saw something that changed, saw the day turn to night and the light fill the room when the sun came up.
Their cages had to be forced open because they were frozen shut and hadn't been opened in so long. They lived in a space that barely allowed them to stand, let alone walk or even turn around. That is feces matted in the fur. The odor was so overwhelming, it was almost tangible. They were all bone under that fur. Their poop was so full of cedar chips, they couldn't even use it for a stool sample
One of them repetitively spins in circles. This compulsive behavior may be seen in dogs who are forced to live in small spaces, frequently tied up or confined, have been physically abused or punished randomly and unpredictably and/or who lacks opportunity to engage in normal canine behavior, such as socializing with people and other dogs. It's hard to think about this shell of a dog spinning in circles for years. There were approximately 17 dogs living in this state of mental torture and physical deprivation. All But Furgotten offered to take as many as needed. We were given five and other rescues stepped up for the rest who were removed. We were fortunate to have a vet and staff who were willing to stay till one am to be available to examine these dogs. Green Hill Veterinary was very kind and generous to the animals tonight."
When help finally came, they were denied justice due to the failings of a strong law that lacked a system of personnel willing to enforce it. Dawn Maureen Swick has yet to be charged for those acts of abuse and neglect to those dogs and investigation has stagnated if not stopped entirely. 17 emaciated, injured, and neglected dogs were surrendered to the Humane Society Police Officer Penny Dewoerhel responding to the complaint in lieu of a warrant being requested. The law needs not repeating here. You signed it and campaigned upon it. It is up to the local DA’s to make sure that it is enforced to the fullest extent in every animal abuse case. The person responsible for this travesty, Dawn Swick, needs to face the maximum charges possible for these crimes against these innocent animals. This is aggravated cruelty (Section 5534) that caused serious bodily harm to these dogs. There is no way of knowing how many of the unaccounted-for dogs died in that basement.
It is the responsibility and duty of the Armstrong County District Attorney, Katie M. Charlton to send a strong message to the community that this neglect and abuse will not be tolerated. The law is there to do so, and the time and the time is now to use it to prosecute the case. As of now a measly three summary charges have been filed. This is not acceptable. Both Pennsylvania and Federal laws recognize that people capable of such cruelty should be punished. Research has shown that people capable of such cruelty against animals often turn to treating human victims in the same manner.
DA Katie Charlton has exercised her prosecutor’s discretion to not pursue criminal charges and has publicly blamed the HSPO for mishandling evidence. She also claimed to have never heard of Libre’s Law. The DA even stopped pursuing her efforts to decertify the HSPO just two hours before the scheduled hearing. A HSPO who had authority revoked in 3 previous counties. This is not acceptable.
Because of a lack of prosecution, the non-profit, International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club (ISSDC) had to step in to collect funds to pay the veterinarian expenses and care of the dogs. One dog Tiberius aka Tyler never recovered from the abuse and neglect and died in early September 2018, at the age of approximately four before he could find a loving home..
The fact that the DA Katie Charlton in Armstrong County was not aware of the animal abuse law in Pennsylvania is very unsettling to us. Governor Wolf has the authority and staffing to investigate the current status of this situation as to why a sitting, duly elected District Attorney was unaware of the animal abuse laws in Pennsylvania that Governor Wolf just signed into law. We need to make it clear that protocol being breached by the investigating officer is not an acceptable rationale that Dawn Swick should be allowed to get away with this.
"October 8, 2018 / Tribune Review / By Chuck Biedka
"Summary charges were withdrawn against a Parks Township woman who was accused of mistreating more than a dozen dogs.
But a dog advocate group is asking people to petition the Armstrong County District Attorney to file stiffer charges against former dog breeder Dawn Swick now that the summary charges were withdrawn.
Attempts to reach Swick were unsuccessful. Her attorney, Greg Swank, said Monday he would have to review the case file before commenting.
Last February, former Armstrong County Humane Officer Penny Dewoehrel filed three summary charges against Swick and confiscated the dogs.
Those animals, Shiloh Shepherds, a larger and friendly German Shepherd with longer hair, were removed and taken to veterinarians or others who could temporarily care for them. Three other dogs on the property didn’t need medical care, officials said.
Dewoehrel resigned as Armstrong County’s dog officer in August. Months earlier, District Attorney Katie Charlton filed a court petition to decertify Dewoehrel as an Animal Control Officer.
Charlton said she has carefully reviewed the charges against Swick.
“I take the conditions under which the animals in Ms. Swick’s home were alleged to have been found were very serious,” Charlton said.
Unfortunately, the actions taken by Ms. Dewoehrel in Ms. Swick’s case severely hamper my ability to prosecute the case against Ms. Swick at this juncture,” Charlton said. She would not comment further on her reasons for withdrawing the charges."
She said her office will be “working diligently with local groups and law enforcement to create a process for Armstrong County wherein appropriate charges will be filed in the future for all animal cruelty cases and in a manner in which my office can effectively prosecute said cases.”
On Monday, an online animal advocate group continued to asked people to urge Charlton to file tougher charges against Swick.
Rescue Watch founder Libby Williams urged supporters to write letters to Charlton, calling on her to have county detectives do their own investigation and file more serious charges against Swick.
The non-profit International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club(ISSDC) has been collecting money to help pay for the care of the dogs."
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka."
Another Reporter Beau Berman WTAE also worked on this story and he can be reached at: https://www.facebook.com/ BeauBermanTV/
The other rescues that were involved were : All But Furgotten, Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team and Char-Wills German Shepherd Rescue .These poor dogs required foster care and veterinarian attention before being adopted. Those that did adopt any of the dogs can attest to the fact of the emotional trauma and psychological issues that they had to overcome .To this day they still have such issues as extreme separation anxiety from their new families.
The fact that the DA Katie Charlton in Armstrong County was not aware of the animal abuse law in Pennsylvania is very unsettling to us. Governor Wolf needs to know is the current status of the situation the fact that the DA and Armstrong County was unaware of the animal abuse laws in Pennsylvania that carry a felony charge a law Governor Wolf passed!. We need to make it clear that nobody will sit in silence because protocol was breached by Penny Dewoehrel in taking the dogs. It is not acceptable that Dawn Swick should be allowed to get away with this crime because proper paperwork was not filed before the confiscation.
Governor Wolf we kindly ask that you investigate this and prosecute Dawn Swick under animal abuse laws that you have passed in the state of Pennsylvania. Also that this woman and any associates involved in this horrendous abuse be held accountable to the highest level deemed necessary. We will not stand by quietly. We will be a voice for those who do not have one. We will not go away until Justice is served!
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