An animal cruelty charge that followed a botched eye surgery on an English bulldog has effectively shut down a Lancaster County puppy mill for the next five years.

A veterinarian who treated the dog raised the alarm against Ray Martin, 48, of New Holland, Penn., after noticing the dog was missing a part of his eye. Investigators with the Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA) and humane law enforcement then determined that Martin had used a hot kitchen knife to remove cherry eye — caused by an inflamed gland of the eyelid that surfaced in the dog — without anesthesia, training, or medical qualifications.

Martin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised provision.

Lady Freethinker thanks the more than 41,000 people who signed our petition demanding accountability and justice for this innocent dog.

As part of the plea deal, he also surrendered 17 dogs to the PSPCA and is prohibited from owning or profiting from dogs for the next five years, according to court documents. 

Nicole Wilson, PSPCA’s director, told the Reading Eagle​​ that the case was “especially horrific.”

“The offender, in this case, took this innocent puppy’s medical care into his own hands, without considering the pain and suffering endured by this vulnerable animal,” she said.

Martin originally also was charged with aggravated cruelty for torture and neglect, according to the Reading Eagle — felony charges that could have resulted in stronger sentencing. Unfortunately, as part of the plea deal, those aggravated charges were dropped.

While LFT is grateful that dogs are safe for now, we’re disappointed that this animal abuser will be able to have more dogs in five years. Anyone who treated dogs this way should be barred from having any animals for life.

We will continue fighting to bring awareness to puppy mills and the animals who endure appalling conditions for their keepers’ profit.