The Montgomery County kennel owner who was the subject of a social media campaign over his alleged treatment of more than 60 dogs in his care now faces a new animal neglect charge.
State police said Tuesday night Herbert Weich, owner of Flat Creek Border Collies, was charged with failure to provide proper sustenance, a violation of state Agriculture and Markets Law. The arrest came after an investigation by state police, with assistance from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets and Attorney General’s Office.
Weich was initially ticketed Jan. 7 on a charge of not providing adequate shelter after relinquishing 41 of 60 dogs amid complaints about their treatment. At the time, the main concern was shelter: The dogs were living in small pens with modified plastic oil drums for homes.
But another 13 dogs were seized Jan. 22 after police received a veterinarian’s report that said the initial dogs were in worse condition than originally thought. The report said most of the 35 border collies Weich had surrendered were underweight, and some were emaciated or suffering from open wounds, while others had ear mites and all of them had worms. The veterinarian suggested these conditions were caused by neglect and malnutrition.
The campaign was started by Eric Bellows, a neighbor and dog lover, after he called in an animal negligence tip to police upon noticing the dogs’ small stature and cold living conditions. A trooper visited Weich on Dec. 31 to investigate, but didn’t immediately charge Weich or remove the dogs, so Bellows took matters into his own hands and posted pictures of the dogs on Facebook.
That sparked an international social media outcry that drew the attention of Richard Rosenthal, an animal rights lawyer with the Lexus Project. Rosenthal went to court Jan. 6 in an attempt to force the dogs’ removal. At that hearing, Weich agreed to temporarily give up rights to some of his dogs, which also included six shih-tzus, until he could provide adequate shelter.
Weich was processed at the Fonda state police barracks on the latest charge and released on a ticket to appear Monday in Root Town Court.