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Dog Breeders Accused Of Abuse Head To Court

January 18, 2018 GMT

CONYNGHAM TWP. — Three dog breeders accused of leaving dogs outside during frigid temperatures and allowing others to live inside in squalor were arraigned Wednesday.

John Jerome Dancho, 70, Michele Starkey, 55, and Amanda Dancho, 26, of Pond Hill Shorthairs, each face 130 charges after state police responded to their facility at 361 Cemetery Road on Dec. 31.

Magisterial District Judge Matthew C. Christopher arraigned the trio on Wednesday afternoon and released Starkey and John Dancho on $50,000 unsecured bail. Amanda Dancho was released on non-monetary bail.

According to prosecutors, state police went to the home after getting a report that 11 dogs were left outside in the freezing cold. Investigators say the dogs’ water had frozen solid in the cold and they were licking the ice for moisture.

The troopers advised the group to take the 11 dogs, and five others that were inside, to a safe place. During a subsequent search, investigators found 19 more dogs living in filthy conditions, according to prosecutors.

Those dogs were taken to the Luzerne County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter.

The Danchos and Starkey, who are facing multiple counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and neglect of animals, are due back in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 6.

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