March 2, 2003
Hon. Richard M. Howell
Darke County Prosecuting Attorney
Darke County Courthouse
Greenville, Ohio 45331
Dear Prosecuting Attorney:
Enclosed is a videotape showing hens in deplorable health and living conditions at Weaver Brothers Egg Farm, 10638 State Route 47, Versailles, Ohio. The video, which was taped during the month of December, 2002 shows hens suffering from untreated infections and growths. Other hens are depicted trapped in the wire of their cages. The video also shows a live hen left to die in a trash bin filled with discarded corpses. We respectfully request an immediate investigation of this emergency situation and assurance that appropriate measures will be taken to alleviate the hens' suffering as well as prosecute those responsible.
We fear that other hens are experiencing slow and agonizing deaths through starvation and untreated medical conditions. Under §§959.06 ("Painless Destruction of Domestic Animals") of the Ohio Statutes:
"(a) No person shall destroy any domestic animal by decompression chamber or by any method other than that which immediately and painlessly renders the domestic animal initially unconscious and subsequently dead." Leaving a hen to die in a trash bin or to die of untreated medical conditions or trapped without access to food or water violates this statute. Furthermore, under §959.13 ("Cruelty to Animals"):
"(a)(1) No person shall torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal without supplying it during confinement with a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food or water." Again, the hens trapped in the wire of their cages and the hen left to die in the trash bin were not receiving necessary food or care. In addition, under §1717.01 ("Definitions"):"
(b) "Cruelty," "torment," and "torture" include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief." Refusing medical attention to hens suffering from infections and disease is neglect.
We are asking for your immediate intervention to prevent further suffering.
Thanking you in advance for your time, attention and prompt response.
Nathan D. Runkle, director
Mercy For Animals
Encl: Videotape labeled "Animal Cruelty at Weaver Brothers Egg Farm"
Ian J.H. Duncan Statement
Meg Baho, DVM, Statement
Eric Dunayer, VMD, Statement
Laurie Siperstein-Cook, DVM, Statement