HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Highspire police officer and his wife will serve jail time for neglecting a dog authorities said was severely malnourished and “sickly looking.”
Jeffrey S. Levan, 52, and Amber S. Levan, 34, of Halifax, each received sentences Monday of 3-12 months in Dauphin County Prison followed by one year of probation.
They pleaded no contest to two counts of animal neglect.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah Phillips said Jeffrey Levan began serving his sentence immediately. Amber Levan will begin serving her jail term in May.
The couple must also pay court costs and restitution for the care of the dog they were forced to surrender.
The Highspire Police Department placed Jeffrey Levan on unpaid leave after a preliminary hearing in October. The borough council has petitioned the Civil Service Commission to remove him from the department and expects to have a ruling in about a week.
State police in Lykens filed charges last summer after the dog, Bruno, was found severely underweight, had visibly protruding bones and open sores on his legs, and smelled of urine.
According to a criminal complaint, the dog was in the care of a sitter while the couple was on a vacation in June. While at the sitter’s home, someone noticed the dog’s condition and reported it.
Police said when they spoke to Jeffrey Levan by phone, he said Bruno has cancer and has been losing weight for several months. He later said the dog had not been to a veterinarian in over a year, and he had no documentation of Bruno’s condition.
The couple’s veterinarian provided records that showed Bruno received shots as a puppy in March 2013 but was never brought back for another appointment.
When police spoke to the couple at their home on June 16, both said they believed Bruno might have cancer but acknowledged they did not seek medical care, the complaint states.
A veterinarian who examined Bruno after he was seized by police said the dog was 20-30 pounds underweight but had no other medical condition or disease.
The sitter told police she was advised by Jeffrey Levan to feed Bruno just one 13.2-ounce can of wet dog food each day, according to the complaint.