Montgomery Co. woman charged with illegally cropping ears of several puppies

A Montgomery County woman has been charged with animal cruelty resulting from the illegal ear cropping of multiple miniature schnauzer puppies.

Joan Huber, a former American Kennel Club Terrier Group Breeder of the Year, was charged with eight felony counts of animal cruelty -- including four counts of torture and four counts of causing serious bodily injury or death.

Acting on a tip in May, the Pennsylvania SPCA's Humane Law Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at a Union County kennel where the puppies were allegedly housed. Upon their arrival, officials discovered four 3-month-old miniature schnauzers who had recently undergone ear cropping procedures.

Ear cropping -- referred to by the PSPCA as a "cosmetic" procedure -- is illegal under Pennsylvania law unless performed by a licensed veterinarian while the dog is under anesthesia, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, which opposes cropping.

The dogs in question were seized by the PSPCA's Humane Law Enforcement team, transported to the organization's Erie Avenue headquarters and medically treated in its shelter hospital. All four dogs have since recovered and found forever families.

"These dogs suffered through this traumatic experience for no other reason than an outdated view of aesthetics," said PSPCA Director of Humane Law Enforcement Nicole Wilson. "Whatever anyone may feel about the issue of ear cropping, no one would imagine that a purported lover of schnauzers would slice off these puppies' ears without proper anesthetic or pain management as alleged in this case."

Cruelty charges against Huber were filed in Lebanon County, where the alleged illegal cropping procedure occurred.

Anyone who witnesses acts of animal cruelty is encouraged to call the PSPCA's Cruelty Hotline at 866-601-7722. Animal cruelty can also be reported by filling out the PSPCA's online form here.

Those interested in donating to the PSPCA can do so here.