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Former Iowa veterinarian pleads guilty to animal cruelty in Lancaster County ‘debarking’ case

LANCASTER COUNTY — A former Iowa veterinarian pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in Lancaster County Court late last month, allowing her to avoid fu...
denise felling

LANCASTER COUNTY — A former Iowa veterinarian pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges in Lancaster County Court late last month, allowing her to avoid further jail time, court documents show.

Denise Felling, 55, was accused of illegally “debarking” dogs in Quarryville and Kinzers by shoving a rod into their vocal chambers.

In exchange for her guilty plea to eight counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, Felling was sentenced to time served to 23 months in prison by Lancaster County President Judge Dennis E. Reinaker.

She had been incarcerated in Lancaster County Prison since being extradited from Iowa in early December. Authorities there captured her in November 2018.

Felling formerly had a veterinarian’s license in Iowa; it has since been revoked, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office. She never obtained a license in Pennsylvania, but represented herself as a veterinarian to the Lancaster County woman who owned the dogs, authorities say.

The illegal debarkings were done in May 2018, according to authorities.