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Pennsylvania dog breeder Joan Huber faces charges that include felony torture after cutting puppies’ ears illegally for almost a year.
Huber, 82, faces a maximum sentence of 56 years in prison and fines up to $120,000 on eight counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, with four counts labeled as torture.
The breeder was initially convicted of animal cruelty in 2017 after she was discovered cropping puppies’ ears without using anesthesia or a veterinary license. She was put on house arrest shortly after and assigned a probation officer to monitor her activities.
For the following year, Hubert continued to crop puppies’ ears illegally—this time, she enlisted the help of kennel operators to house her dogs and grooming shop owners to provide a location for the operations.
“It appears that she is having other kennel operators house animals for her, in an effort to continue operations,” Nicole Wilson, the director of humane law enforcement at the SPCA, tells Washington Post. “These people who are around her, who are continuing to support her actions, these people weren’t turning a blind eye.”
Ever since Huber was convicted last year, she has acquired a large support group who claim she was victimized by unfair laws attempting to regulate a common practice utilized for decades. Wilson argues that the main issue is people who believe they are immune to animal welfare laws.
“People say, ‘This is how we’ve always done it,’” she tells the outlet. “Well, guess what? Technology has improved. Medical practices have improved. Why do you think an old way of handling an animal hasn’t changed in 20 years? They’re trying to defend the indefensible.”
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