HALIFAX, Pa. (WHTM) – A police officer and his wife are headed to court on animal cruelty and neglect charges for having a dog that authorities said was severely malnourished and “sickly looking.”
Jeffrey S. Levan, 51, and Amber S. Levan, 34, of Halifax, waived a preliminary hearing before a district judge on Tuesday. By waiving the hearing, the couple did not admit guilt but conceded there is sufficient evidence for a trial.
The Levans were charged in August with one count of cruelty to animals and two counts of neglect of animals, all misdemeanors.
Jeffrey Levan is a police officer for Highspire. As a result of the hearing, he has been placed on unpaid leave. He had been on paid leave.
Amber Levan works at the Dauphin County Judicial Center. She is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
State police in Lykens said the couple’s dog, Bruno, was 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.
A formal arraignment in Dauphin County Court is scheduled for Dec. 13.