Pennsylvania SPCA: Woman Charged With 72 Counts Of Animal Cruelty

A woman from Lititz, Pennsylvania, was charged Friday with 72 counts of animal cruelty. The Pennsylvania SPCA filed the animal cruelty summary citations against Barbara Dienner after the agency responded to a tip.

Pennsylvania SPCA’s CEO Jerry Buckley said that animals were “literally everywhere all over the house: in the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the garage — everywhere,” according to Lancaster Online. The report indicated that four of the animals were trapped inside buggies that were parked behind the garage. The report from the SPCA stated that all of the animals were spaniel and terrier type canines. The Pennsylvania SPCA updated its website with information about the animal cruelty case.

“Responding to a tip received by the Pennsylvania Office of Dog Law Enforcement Office, PSPCA Humane Law Enforcement officers executed a search warrant and found the spaniel- and terrier-type dogs living in unsanitary conditions and with untreated medical issues. The animals were assessed by PSPCA medical staff on site and then transported to the Pennsylvania SPCA headquarters in Philadelphia for further evaluation. Dienner surrendered the animals to the PSPCA.”

In total, 62 dogs and puppies were removed from Dienner’s property. The animals had been kept in conditions that were so bad and which had ammonia levels so high that it was affecting the officers as they worked. Dienner was cited for “unsanitary confinement and lack of necessary veterinary care,” according to field supervisor Sgt. Wilson.

A Facebook post made by the Pennsylvania SPCA on Friday showed that some of the animals had been adopted, though some of the animals were still receiving medical treatment at that time. The Pennsylvania SPCA officials have turned their focus on finding homes for the remaining animals and prosecuting the animal cruelty case.

“We are gratified by the outpouring of concern and support for these defenseless animals. The Pennsylvania SPCA is the only animal welfare agency in the state or region capable of executing a case of this magnitude. We are grateful for the financial support of our donors who provide all of the funding to make this vital work possible. We will now focus on prosecuting this case with the cooperation of the Lancaster County District Attorney.”

The Pennsylvania law regarding animal cruelty includes wording that criminalizes animal neglect.

“A person commits a summary offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal'[s] body heat and keep it dry.”

According to Animal Law Coalition, Pennsylvania has comparatively weak punishments for convictions of animal cruelty charges made by the SPCA. Each summary citation for animal cruelty means a person can face a fine of between $50 and $750 and/or up to 90 days imprisonment. Combined, the Pennsylvania woman could be looking at a maximum fine of $54,000 and up to 17 years in prison from the 72 charges of animal cruelty.

[Photo via Pennsylvania SPCA]