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SPCA removes dogs from dog breeder

ROOT-- Montgomery County SPCA seized at least 40 dogs from a breeder Tuesday night after its owner was charged with failure to provide inadequate shelter. Six puppies were also surrendered.

The North Shore Animal League donated the use of two buses to help identify and transport the animals.

"Right now what we're seeing in the shih tzus is they're terribly matted. They're scared, they're shaking of course. They're scared, they're cold. They have not been well cared for," said Jan Zumbolo, board president of the Montgomery County SPCA.

Earlier in the day Herbert Weich, owner of Flat Creek Border Collies, was in Montgomery County Supreme Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of failing to maintain adequate shelter.

A judge ruled the adult dogs will be temporarily removed from the property until he renovates their shelter. Seventeen puppies will be allowed to remain on the property if he brings them inside when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

Weich could get all of the dogs back if he improves the shelter for his collies.

"Having someone who will properly care for the dogs is in the dogs best interest. Having them go into adoption only further taxes the resources of the SPCA and rescue groups," said Richard Rosenthal, general counsel for The Lexus Project, which brought the case to court Tuesday.

State Police called the shelters primitive following a visit to the breeder last week and said a veterinarian noted the dogs did not show any signs of distress. Animal activists said they needed better shelter from the extreme cold and hope Weich will turn over all of the dogs. He will be back in court on January 13 and the state will continue monitoring the dogs that remain on his property.

"It's a tough job doing it, but it's good," said Zumbolo. "Now we know that these animals that have been out in the cold are going to be warm tonight."