Woman Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty for Having Dogs ‘Debarked’

By Tiffany Meier

A woman in Pennsylvania faces two years on probation after pleading guilty to six counts of animal cruelty charges for debarking her dogs.

Annie Beiler, 47, is also required to surrender almost all of her dogs to the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to the plea accepted by Judge Howard Knisely on Thursday, May 24, via Lancaster Online.

The exception is one indoor dog that Beiler owns. However, that dog is required to receive welfare checks by the PSPCA, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Additionally, Beiler is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having any dogs in her control or custody, and is not allowed to perform any work involving the care of dogs, according to the authorities.

Beiler had obtained the services of formerly licensed Iowa veterinarian, Denise Felling, to debark the dogs, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

The debarking process involves “shoving a rod-like object into the dogs’ vocal chambers,” according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office. The manner in which Felling did the “debarking procedures was illegal,” according to authorities.

Felling was also charged and pleaded guilty, officials said. Felling was sentenced up to 23 months in prison and released on credit for time served, according to Lancaster Online. Authorities said Felling told Beiler she was a veterinarian but never obtained a license in Pennsylvania. According to officials, her license in Iowa was revoked.

Previously, authorities seized 15 dogs from Beiler’s Quarryville property in May 2018, according to Fox 43 News. Three of those dogs had also been illegally debarked. One was an adult husky while two were Doberman pinschers, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania SPCA officer.

Beiler pleaded guilty to 14 counts of animal cruelty and one count of neglect at the time.

Beiler paid Felling $60 per dog to perform the procedure, according to the criminal complaint. Beiler admitted that she tried to have the procedure done at an animal hospital, but was told it was illegal.

husky dog
File image of a husky dog. (Joe007/Pixabay)

Later, Felling was also charged in the case, and pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated cruelty to animals in January.

Additionally, Beiler was accused of improperly docking the tails of nine Doberman pinscher puppies by using rubber bands on their tails when they were just three days old. Because the process was improperly done, the tails became infected and required professional treatment.

Three of the puppies had been kept inside an “improper hutch-like shelter with a wire floor that was spaced too widely,” according to the complaint. As a result, the puppies’ legs fell through the wire.

Another puppy developed hyphemia in its left eye. It was left untreated, and as a result, the puppy’s eye became permanently damaged and had to be removed, according to the complaint.

Doberman puppy
File image of a Doberman puppy sleeping. (Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus/Pixabay)

A pregnant German shepherd dog, an adult Doberman pinscher with 10 puppies, seven 4-week-old Dobermans, two 6-week old Dobermans, and a 3-month-old husky were also all removed from the property.

On Thursday, judge Knisely asked Beiler if she wanted to make a comment after pleading guilty to misdemeanor and cruelty to animals.

“No, your honor,” she said, according to Lancaster Online.

Beiler was ordered to pay a $25 fine for each of the four offenses and sentenced to two years of probation.