LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Changes are coming in Lancaster County six months after ABC27 News first told you about an animal abuse case involving a puppy named Libre.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman says the Boston terrier was neglected and the Lancaster County SPCA mishandled the investigation. He wants to prevent another case like Libre’s.
A new effort is underway to make sure all humane officers are able to identify and respond to animal abuse.
“Those who commit cruelty will be held accountable,” Stedman said.
The district attorney’s office took over coordinating animal cruelty investigations. Now the DA’s office, the Pennsylvania SPCA, as well as state and municipal police investigate animal abuse cases.
The DA’s office is teaming up with the Humane Society of the United States and the Pennsylvania SPCA to offer training to 150 officers between Jan. 24-27.
“There’s not a whole lot of training out there on what to look for and how to do it. They get their initial training and the police officers – they don’t get a whole lot of it – so, if we’re going to ask them and give them the responsibility to do it, I think we have a responsibility to give them the proper foundation, educational background, and training,” Stedman said.
Officers are getting information on animal fighting, animal cruelty, puppy mill investigations, and Pennsylvania Dog Law.
“We’re very concerned, obviously, for the lives and safety of these animals, but there’s also a very significant connection to crimes against people. That ultimately makes this a community issue,” said Chris Brosan, manager of strategic campaigns and special projects for the Humane Society of the United States.
“Animals are evidence in these cases, but they’re not like your television that gets stolen that gets put on an evidence shelf. These are animals that need care,” said Nicole Wilson, director of humane law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Detective Joanne Resh with the district attorney’s office is one of the people benefiting from the training.
“We are getting more and more calls every day, so now the officers are informed on what to look for and what laws are there for us to charge,” Resh said.
“Providing this training is going to provide more protection for the animals of Lancaster County, and they’ll be in better shape than they were the week before this,” Stedman said.
Lancaster County is the first county in Pennsylvania to receive this training. Other counties could receive this special instruction from the Humane Society of the United States and the Pennsylvania SPCA in the future.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.