NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — A Lancaster County dog breeder is facing animal cruelty charges after he allegedly used a heated kitchen knife to burn off an inflamed portion of a dog's eyelid, the Pennsylvania SPCA announced Wednesday.
Ray Martin, of New Holland, is charged with a felony count of intentionally or knowingly torturing an animal and a misdemeanor count of failing to provide veterinary care to an animal at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, the PSPCA said.
The charges date back to an incident first reported on July 3, 2020, the PSPCA said.
On that date, the PSPCA's Humane Law Enforcement team received a complaint from a veterinarian about an English Bulldog puppy that had been purchased from a breeder and subsequently brought in for care for a concern regarding an eye problem, the PSPCA said.
Upon examination, the veterinarian determined that the puppy was missing a portion of the eye’s anatomy, according to the PSPCA.
No surgical records or veterinary records for this condition were provided to the purchaser, and the breeder, later identified as Martin, had ultimately admitted to removing it himself, the PSPCA alleges.
An investigation by the PSPCA determined Martin had found that the puppy developed a cherry eye -- an inflamed or prolapsed gland of the third eyelid, the PSPCA said.
Martin allegedly admitted to removing the cherry eye himself, according to the PSPCA.
Further investigation revealed Martin's wife held the puppy on a kitchen table while Martin heated up a knife, then used it to burn and cut the cherry eye out of the puppy, the PSPCA said.
The procedure was done without any anesthesia or pain medication, the PSPCA claims.
At this time, no animals were seized from Martin as the puppy in question had been placed with a family who continue to provide for the puppy’s medical needs, according to the PSPCA.
“This case of animal cruelty is especially horrific,” said Nicole Wilson, Director of Humane Law Enforcement and Shelter Operations at the Pennsylvania SPCA. “The offender in this case took this innocent puppy’s medical care into his own hands, using what was essentially a kitchen knife to simultaneously burn while cutting out an essential part of the puppy’s eye anatomy without considering the pain and suffering endured by this vulnerable animal.
"As the puppy ages, the eye will likely need lifelong ongoing medical treatment just to maintain the basic health of the eye. These charges are not only about finding justice for this puppy but also to ensure this never happens again.”
Anyone with information about this case or other cases involving animal cruelty, is urged to call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (866) 601-SPCA.