libre pen

A puppy, later named Libre, as he appeared in a pen in a southern Lancaster County farm before being rescued on Monday, July 4, 2016.

The owner of a sick puppy, which was seized by a rescue group on Monday and taken to a Dillsburg veterinarian for treatment, has surrendered the puppy’s mother to the Lancaster County SPCA.

SPCA director Susan Martin said in a statement Friday that the owner, who has not been identified, “willingly offered to surrender the mother of the puppy to the SPCA” after determining that the 15-month-old Boston terrier was no longer healthy enough to use for breeding.

No charges will be filed against the dog’s owner, Martin said, because it is impossible to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual willingly and knowingly grossly neglected care for the animal intending to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm.”

The puppy — initially described by the rescue group as 7 weeks old but actually 4 months old, Martin said — had been sold two months previously with a certificate of good health signed by a licensed veterinarian. The puppy was returned to the breeder, Martin said, after it was found to have demodectic mange.


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Demodectic mange, a skin disease caused by mites, is often contracted by young dogs with poorly developed immune systems, Martin said.

The puppy was not responding to care by the breeder’s veterinarian, Martin said.

“The breeder indicated the dog had gone downhill significantly in the 24 hours prior to the rescue group obtaining the dog,” she said.

The breeder gave up the mother to the SPCA after the dog also showed symptoms of demodectic mange, Martin said. Dogs with a history of demodectic mange, she explained, “generally should not should not be bred.”

The SPCA is starting treatment of the female dog for mange, Martin said. She will remain in foster care until she responds to treatment, she said, after which the dog will be available for adoption.

The puppy, named Libre by the Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg, was “hours from death” when seized from a farm in southern Lancaster County, according to an earlier report.

Janine Guido, owner of Speranza Animal Rescue, was summoned after an anonymous tipster reported the puppy’s condition.

Guido said Tuesday the puppy was emaciated, dehydrated and barely breathing, with rotting and infected skin infested with maggots.

Libre is fighting for survival at Dillsburg Veterinary Center, she said. He was listed earlier this week in critical condition.

Jennifer Nields, who assisted with the puppy’s rescue on Monday, said Libre is showing some improvement “but he’s not out of the woods yet.”

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