The Bucks County SPCA announces the addition of two new Humane Society Police Officers to its cruelty investigation department. Katherine Hogan and Sean Reifsnyder were sworn in on August 3rd, 2018 at the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown. Both have been staff members of the BCSPCA for more than two years. Additionally, the pair completed the state-mandated certification classes in Harrisburg and State College and have had extensive on-the-job training with BCSPCA Chief Humane Society Police Officer, Nikki Thompson. Katherine has a degree in Criminal Justice and Sean brings years of experience in animal behavior and training. Private donors and a grant from Upper Bucks Sertoma Club made their advanced training and certification possible.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure for me working with the Bucks County SPCA over the past three years. Having two new humane officers in the county will greatly enhance our collective goal to prevent cruelty to animals and prosecute those who abuse animals in Bucks County,” Robert James, Assistant District Attorney.
So far this year, the BCSPCA team has investigated 275 cruelty and neglect complaints for all types of animals throughout Bucks County. Officer Thompson estimates that they will investigate more than 500 complaints by year’s end, an increase of 20% over 2017.
“We were founded 106 years ago to prevent animal suffering specifically in Bucks County,” explained Linda Reider, BCSPCA Executive Director. “Our team spends every day either on the road or in the courtroom, righting wrongs and helping animals live better lives.”
Pennsylvania Law protects animals from neglect and cruelty. These laws may be enforced by local SPCAs, which bear all expenses of training, investigating, county proceedings, and animals’ treatment and care.
Please report any suspicions of animal abuse or neglect within Bucks County seven days a week by calling 215-794-7425.
On November 16, 2017, the Bucks County SPCA’s Chief Humane Officer, Nikki Thompson, obtained a search warrant in response to a report of animal hoarding and neglect. After finding 31 cats and 5 parrots in unsafe and unsanitary conditions in a two-bedroom apartment in Bristol Township, Officer Thompson removed the animals and transported them to the BCSPCA’s shelter for medical evaluation. A number of the animals were ill, and two cats required emergency surgery for serious medical conditions. Criminal charges were filed against the owners, who refused to surrender the animals.
Kittens born while in the care of the Bucks County SPCA brought the total number of animals to 42 that were held in protective custody pending the criminal trial, currently scheduled for August 2018. This put a tremendous strain on the BCSPCA, both in terms of space and resources, and kept the animals, who were not eligible for adoption, in limbo seven months.
On May 22, 2018, Joann Lytle and Ashley Turner of McCarter & English filed a Petition in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County under Pennsylvania’s recently-enacted Costs of Care of Seized Animals Act. Just 15 days after filing the petition, the Honorable Robert J. Mellon entered judgment in favor of the BCSPCA in the amount of $53,031.50, representing a portion of the BCSPCA’s out-of-pocket costs to house and provide medical care to the animals. When the owners failed to pay that amount as required by the Costs of Care Act, ownership of the seized animals automatically transferred to the BCSPCA.
After seven months in the care of the BCSPCA, these animals can now be neutered/spayed and adopted into loving homes. “We are grateful for the excellent legal representation that expedited this victory for the animals. And we’re eager to see these animals adopted into good homes as quickly as possible,” said Linda Reider, BCSPCA Executive Director. “BCSPCA has been investigating animal cruelty in Bucks County for 112 years. Our deep roots here make this kind of investigation, rescue and recovery possible. Please call 215-794-7425 if you suspect animal cruelty anywhere in Bucks County.”
Adopters can see the animals by visiting BCSPCA shelters in Lahaska and Quakertown and online here. Cats will be available for same-day adoptions. People interested in adopting one of the birds can request an application by calling 267-347-4674. Donations made this fiscal year will help defray the significant cost of caring for these animals for the past seven months. You can give securely online or send your gift to BCSPCA, PO Box 277, Lahaska, PA 18931. Thank you!
Kitten season is here and you can help!
Be a foster hero and help these little ones get a good start in life. We’ll provide training, support, and all the supplies. You provide the TLC. Training sessions are held monthly, moving between our two shelters in Lahaska and Quakertown. Interested? Call or email to learn more: email@example.com or 267-347-4674
The typical foster commitment is 2-6 weeks.
“Fostering is one of the best feelings. I love giving the kittens a good chance to grow up and be adopted into forever homes. By helping foster you are freeing up room for more rescues. A win-win!”
– BCSPCA foster volunteer
We’ve been asked by Pinellas County Animal Services to accept more than two dozen dogs to help make room in their shelters for local pets in the wake of devastating Hurricane Irma. Early on September 14 three members of our team hit the road for Largo, Florida, transporting dog crates and requested medical supplies. They’ll return on Sunday with a truck full of dogs in need of new homes. All the dogs were at the shelter before the storm hit. Flood waters are receding, but the recovery will be a long one. We’re proud to be part of this important work and thankful for the support of our community. Thanks to your response, the full cost of transport and medical supplies has been covered. Thank you!
Doreen Stoia of Elite Purrs cattery in Doylestown has been found guilty on 11 counts of animal cruelty. The judge ordered the forfeiture of all 11 Persian cats to the Bucks County SPCA (BCSPCA). “This is a major victory in what has been a lengthy legal case,” said Chief Humane Officer Nikki Thompson following the verdict.
The animals were rescued from the breeder’s home in March after an investigation revealed that the cats were living in extremely unsanitary conditions and suffering from flea infestations and matted coats. On May 1, 2017 Ms. Stoia plead guilty to animal cruelty charges, but later appealed the case.
On September 1, 2017, the judge ordered the surrender of the cats to the BCSPCA, where they have been housed and cared for since being removed from the home. The owner will not have an opportunity to appeal the case, therefore the cats can be made available for adoption once they are cleared medically by the BCSPCA’s veterinarian. Ms. Stoia, a former member of the Cat Fancier’s Association, will no longer be allowed to register cats with the organization.
“I’m proud of the excellent care these beautiful animals have received from BCSPCA staff and volunteers over the last six months,” said Executive Director Linda Reider. “Persians require daily grooming and attention to keep them healthy and their coats free from matts. We would especially like to thank our dedicated volunteers who gave their time to groom and socialize these playful cats. We are thrilled to have a definitive victory against this owner, and, most of all, we are looking forward to placing the cats into responsible, qualified homes.”
Potential adopters are being screened carefully by the BCSPCA to ensure these animals avoid future suffering. Those who previously applied to the BCSPCA to adopt one of the Persians will be contacted to expedite adoptions as each cat is made available. An announcement will be made on the BCSPCA website and Facebook page when we are able to accept additional applications.
Co-owners Michelle Hawkins-Pena and Billy Pena pled guilty to animal cruelty charges on August 29, 2017, and surrendered three horses, one pot-bellied pig, and six chickens to the Bucks County SPCA. The animals were rescued following a several months long investigation into reports of animal cruelty and neglect at the property rented by the couple in Bedminster Township.
“The greatest joy in a case like this is seeing the animals transform during their recovery and go on to live healthy lives,” said BCSPCA Chief Humane Society Police Officer Nikki Thompson following the conviction.
The animals were removed by the BCSPCA with the help of volunteers and neighbors on July 28, 2017. They have since been receiving care at the BCSPCA’s Upper Bucks Animal Care Center under the direction of veterinarians specializing in these specific animals. After just four weeks of providing proper food, water, and basic medical care, the horses have gained weight and their conditions improved dramatically. The pig also has health issues and is improving under treatment.
“This is the best of all possible outcomes,” said BCSPCA Executive Director Linda Reider. “We are thrilled to have the animals in safe hands and a conviction of animal cruelty against the owners. The BCSPCA will continue caring for these animals so that they make a full recovery. Donations toward their substantial food and medical expenses are greatly appreciated.” Give now online (select Care of Bedminster Horses) or by check sent to BCSPCA, PO Box 277, Lahaska, PA 18931.
The animals will remain in the custody of the BCSPCA until they are cleared medically and the time limit for appeal has passed.
After an intensive investigation, the Bucks County SPCA (BCSPCA) removed 3 horses, 6 chickens and a pot-bellied pig from a property in the 600 block of Sweetbriar Road in Perkasie, Bedminster Township on July 28, 2017. Animal cruelty charges are pending against the owners of the animals, Michelle Hawkins-Pena and Billy Pena.
“We appreciate the support and collaboration of the community and the Bedminster Police Department. Despite ordering the owner to provide necessary nutrition and veterinary care, the animals conditions continued to decline and a search warrant was served,” said Humane Society Police Officer Nikki Thompson. “A case like this one requires patience and multiple visits to collect sufficient evidence to maximize the likelihood of a conviction of animal cruelty.”
With the help of several volunteers from the community the animals were transported to BCSPCA’s barn facility in Quakertown, PA. They were immediately examined by an equine veterinarian who is now overseeing their care. “The road may be a long one, but we are optimistic that all of the animals will make a full recovery and go on to enjoy greener pastures.” said Linda Reider BCSPCA Executive Director.
Contributions to help cover food and medical expenses are needed. Donations can be made online or by check sent to BCSPCA, PO Box 277, Lahaska, PA 18931.
UPDATE, May 24, 2017:
Ms. Stoia has appealed her guilty plea and we are awaiting a new court date. Therefore, the adoption application process is on hold until further notice. Our thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for the welfare of these animals.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing cost of caring for these cats, please designate your gift for “Persian Cats.” Any funds raised in excess of their care will be used toward other BCSPCA animals and services. Donate here.
Doreen Stoia of Elite Purrs cattery in Doylestown has surrendered 11 Persian cats to the Bucks County SPCA as part of a plea deal in District Court on May 1, 2017. The cats were rescued from the breeder’s home by Bucks County SPCA humane officers in March following a tip from the community. The cats were found to be living in extremely unsanitary conditions and suffering from flea infestations and matted coats.
Ms. Stoia pled guilty to one count of animal cruelty and as part of the plea deal, all 11 cats were surrendered to the BCSPCA. A prohibition of animal ownership was ordered, as well as a fine of $300.00 plus court costs.
Apply to Adopt a Persian Cat
BCSPCA humane officer Nikki Thompson remarked, “This is a victory for these cats. We are happy to have played a part in helping them recover and will make sure they are adopted by responsible owners who will give them the proper care they deserve. We look forward to seeing these animals begin new lives in loving homes.”
Now that the BCSPCA has ownership of the animals, they can be spayed or neutered by our shelter veterinarian and readied for adoption soon. Anyone interested in adopting one of the eleven Persian cats from this case must submit an application. Applications can be requested in person at our Lahaska or Quakertown shelters, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed applications must be received no later than 5:00 PM on May 15, 2017.
If you suspect animal cruelty in Bucks County, call the BCSPCA’s cruelty hotline at 215-794-7425 x107. One call can make a difference.
04/27/17 UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of animal lovers in our community, the reward has been increased to $1,250. Please call our cruelty hotline at 215-794-7425 x107 if you have information about the shooting of Scooby the cat.
Any funds raised toward the reward will be directed to the care of animals at the BCSPCA in the event that the reward goes uncollected.
– Original Post –
The Bucks County SPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for shooting and killing a well-loved cat named Scooby.
Scooby was shot with a gun on Monday, April 10 between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM in the area of Creekside Apartments on Knights Road, Bensalem, PA. Scooby was an adult male, orange tiger stripe, short-haired cat who regularly came and went from his apartment home. His owner reports that Scooby was friendly and played with all the children in the apartment complex. She and her neighbors are distraught over the loss of Scooby.
When Scooby’s owner found him injured, she took him to the veterinary clinic of the Women’s Humane Society in Bensalem. They determined that the source of his injuries was a projectile. “The Women’s Humane Society is deeply concerned about this situation,” said CEO Cathy Malkemes. “Despite our veterinarian’s best efforts, a pet owner has lost her beloved cat due to someone’s cruel actions. We are determined to work closely with the Bucks County SPCA Cruelty Investigations Division to resolve this matter.”
Bucks County SPCA Humane Officer Nikki Thompson is investigating the shooting and awaiting results of a necropsy exam. Tips and inquiries about the case should be directed to Officer Thompson at our cruelty hotline, 215-794-7425 x107.
“This kind of cruelty inflicted upon an innocent animal is completely unacceptable and clearly against PA anti-cruelty laws,” said Linda Reider, Executive Director of the Bucks County SPCA. “We are asking members of the community to contact us immediately with any information about this tragic shooting so that the responsible person(s) can be held accountable for Scooby’s death.”
Lahaska, PA – Acting on a tip from the community, the Bucks County SPCA served a search warrant at the home of Doreen “Dee” Stoia of the 3600 block of Nancy Ward Circle, Doylestown, PA. Ms. Stoia runs a cattery called “Elitepurrs Persians” out of the residence where she breeds and shows Persian cats. The interior of the house was found to be unsanitary, and each of the 11 adult cats were found to have flea infestations, matted coats and other physical maladies.
“It’s hard to imagine that someone who enters the show ring with prize winning cats would allow the same cats to live under these conditions.” says Nikki Thompson, Chief Humane Society Police Officer for Bucks County SPCA.
The cats are currently receiving care under the direction of the BCSPCA veterinarian and will be held as evidence until a trial can be scheduled. Animal cruelty charges against Ms. Stoia are expected to be filed in the next few days.
“Bucks County cares deeply about animals and we will not stand idly by when they are abused or neglected,” says Linda Reider, Executive Director of the Bucks County SPCA. “These cats are now receiving the proper care and attention they deserve.”
Inquiries about the case should be directed to BCSPCA Chief Cruelty Investigator Nikki Thompson at 215-794-7425 x107.