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Category Archives: Humane Investigations

BCSPCA Wins Custody of Cats Rescued from Massive Doylestown Hoarding Case

In a major win for the animals, the Bucks County SPCA has been awarded ownership of the cats and kittens rescued on May 7, 2019 from a Doylestown property rented by Lori Romanisko. At the time of their removal from the overcrowded filthy conditions in the townhome, 59 cats were found deceased, and 141 living cats were all in need of immediate medical attention. Some even required emergency surgery by the BCSPCA veterinary team.

Bootsie was held in protective custody since May 7 until he was finally able to be adopted on October 3!

While the BCSPCA was initially able to negotiate surrender of some cats, the owner then refused to relinquish nearly half of the animals. The organization filed a civil action against Romanisko under Pennsylvania’s Costs of Care Act to expedite adoption of the cats still held in protective custody. Unreimbursed costs to the organization had mounted to $57,543 by the time of the ruling on August 26. Romanisko failed to pay the ordered costs; therefore, ownership of the cats was automatically transferred to the BCSPCA.

“The importance of this ruling cannot be overstated,” said Executive Director Linda Reider. “While we may never see a dollar of this judgement, we are thrilled that these resilient cats who languished so long in horrendous conditions can now live free of pain and suffering in homes of their own. We ask our community to step forward now and adopt these deserving cats.”

Reider and her team are deeply grateful to pro bono counselors Joann Lytle, Ashley Turner and Allison Morrissey of McCarter & English, LLP, who filed the civil action. Lytle, lead counsel for the BCSPCA, said “our firm is privileged to represent the Bucks County SPCA in animal cruelty cases like this one, and we admire the hard work and dedication of the Bucks County SPCA staff, who rescue animals from unspeakable conditions and give them an opportunity for a better life.”

This is the third time the BCSPCA has used the Costs of Care Act to expedite the adoption of animals rescued from animal cruelty cases. The District Attorney’s office filed criminal animal cruelty charges against Romanisko, which remain pending.

54 Cats Still Need Homes

As of October 7, 90 cats and kittens from the case have been adopted with another 54 (including kittens born in care) available now or in the near future from the organization’s shelters in Lahaska and Quakertown. About 20 of the remaining cats will be adopted out as working cats, meaning they are better suited for active lifestyles in a barn, greenhouse or similar setting in need of natural rodent control.

Working Cat Adoption Event – October 12 & 13

Adopters are encouraged to act now and adopt one or more working cats this month to help the animals settle into place before the onset of cold weather. Adoption donations for working cats are waived through October 31 and a Working Cat Adoption Event is scheduled for noon-3:00 on October 12 and 13 at both BCSPCA locations.

Unlikely friends: Waffles and Hemingway

Bucks County SPCA’s most famous best buddies are melting hearts around the globe.

 

Waffles the mini-horse and Hemingway the goose were rescued by our humane officers in July. The pair let us know right from the start that they are bonded friends not to be separated. While recovering in our comfortable barn in Quakertown, they were featured in a playful video about their unique inter-species friendship. The story has gone viral online (170,000+ views) and on television.

 

From Good Morning America to NPR to Canadian national television, Waffles and Hemingway have brought smiles to countless faces and shone a spotlight on the important work of animal rescue and sheltering. Shelters like the Bucks County SPCA are not just about saving cats and dogs, but a broad variety of animals in need.

BCSPCA saves 22 dogs from filthy conditions

Just days after taking in 140+ cats from a hoarding situation in Doylestown, the Bucks County SPCA cruelty investigation team today removed 22 small dogs from the home of a Bucks County breeder. The animals were being kept in filthy conditions. The dogs have been transported to our shelter in Quakertown and are now safe in our care. The next steps are examination of each animal by our veterinary team and following up with cruelty charges against the dog breeder. The breeder has surrendered the dogs to the Bucks County SPCA which means that we will be able to place them for adoption after they are evaluated, healthy, and neutered.

Our two shelters are now running at maximum capacity behind the scenes. Staff and volunteers are working long hours to provide excellent care for all of the animals from both cases. The community can help these animals recover by making a financial donation to the BCSPCA Animal Relief Fund. We will provide updates on social media as the court cases proceed and these animals become available for adoption. As always, watch our online listing on our website to view pets currently available for adoption. We appreciate the strong support of our community in response to large cases like these.

Bucks County SPCA Humane Police Officers rescue nearly 100 sick cats in Doylestown

BREAKING NEWS: Bucks County SPCA Humane Police Officers are today removing nearly 100 sick cats and kittens from a townhome in Doylestown. The animals have been living in terrible conditions and many are in need of immediate medical treatment. They are being transported to our shelter in Lahaska where our veterinary team is waiting to examine them and begin addressing the most critical medical needs. Stay tuned for details. Donate now to the Bucks County SPCA’s Animal Relief Fund to help us provide care for these suffering animals. https://www.bcspca.org/donate-online/

Pro Bono team expedites legal victory and adoptions for animals rescued from Bristol hoarding case

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.

Freya before.
Freya after.

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!

BCSPCA Wins Custody of 11 Persian Cats Following Lengthy Legal Case

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.

Persian cat
One of 11 Persian cats surrendered to BCSPCA following an animal cruelty investigation.

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.

Breeder Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty and Relinquishes 11 Persian Cats to BCSPCA

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.

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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
Persian cat
AFTER: Faith after 6 weeks in the care of the BCSPCA.

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 info@bcspca.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.

Persian cat
BEFORE: Faith’s coat was flea infested and matted.

Bucks County SPCA Offers Reward for Information about Cat Shot and Killed in Bensalem

Scooby

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.”

Reward Offered in Animal Abuse Case – Solebury Township

The Bucks County SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for killing and injuring five Chinese Geese in Solebury Township on Thursday, February 9, 2017.

Four Chinese Geese were killed and one injured during the mid-morning hours on Thursday while in a retention pond located at the intersection of Aquetong Road and Woods End Drive. The birds appeared to have been shot with a firearm; necropsy is still pending. A community member notified Bucks County SPCA and Solebury Township Police after hearing shots being fired and finding the birds deceased in the pond and on the snow bank. The suspect(s) was witnessed leaving the scene in a large SUV.

“No domestic animal deserves to have their life ended in such a heinous manner. We would like to see the person(s) responsible for this act brought to justice.” says Nikki Thompson, Chief Humane Officer for Bucks County SPCA.  “We ask any members of our community with information about this situation to please contact us so that we can be sure that the person(s) responsible are held accountable.”

Please report relevant information to Chief Humane Officer Nikki Thompson at 215.794-7425 or reportcruelty@bcspca.org.

Learn more about the Bucks County SPCA’s efforts to prevent and investigate animal cruelty.

Exotic Bird Breeder Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty Charges and Relinquishes Birds to BCSPCA

amanda and yoshi
Shelter supervisor Amanda Dubell holding a juvenile Eclectus she has been caring for since the birds were removed in April.

Update August 3, 2016: All but one of these beautiful birds have been adopted by people experienced with caring for exotic birds. One last male Illiger remains in foster care with Dr. Clark, the avian specialist who has overseen their care. Thanks to the donations and support of so many people in Bucks County, these birds are living much better lives!

The owner/breeder of 35 exotic and rare birds seized in April from a Kintnersville garage by the Bucks County SPCA, today plead guilty to animal cruelty charges and was ordered to pay the maximum fine and all court costs. In addition, the birds are now the property of the BCSPCA.
“This is a victory for the animals,” stated Nikki Thompson, BCSPCA Chief Cruelty Investigator. “The birds came to us suffering with multiple health issues caused by chronic neglect. Now, with daily care overseen by an expert in avian medicine, they are thriving, recovering, eating appropriate diets, and engaging with their caregivers. It’s a compete turn-around for them.”
Linda Reider, BCSPCA Executive Director, is thrilled. “We couldn’t have done it without the community of caring people who provided roomy cages, bird-appropriate toys and perches, daily fresh fruits and vegetables, bags of pelleted food, and funds; all so that we could provide excellent conditions for the birds’ recovery. Staff members from both of our animal care centers together with our amazing volunteers have put in hours of care each day in the ‘bird room’ at our Quakertown location. Dr. Clark, an avian specialist from Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, has been overseeing their care, and for that we are also truly grateful.”
People and organizations from within Pennsylvania were joined by donors from other states as the case drew national attention. The majority of the birds will become available for adoption in June. Interested parties with large exotic bird-
owning experience and the ability to provide lifelong care and housing may apply to adopt by filling out a special adoption questionnaire available from the BCSPCA at info@bcspca.org Adoption fees will apply, and birds will be placed in homes deemed suitable on a first-come basis.
“Considering the life these magnificent creatures led in dark filthy cages, they deserve to have homes where there is no question that their needs will be fully met,” explains Ms. Reider. “It has been an honor for us to be the organization that stepped in to rescue these birds, and shepherd them back to health for this amazing happy ending. We are grateful that citizens trust us, evidenced by this case and the nearly 500 other calls we receive each year to investigate animal cruelty complaints across the entire Bucks County.”
The BCSPCA’s Cruelty Hotline is (215) 794-7425. Tips can be left anonymously.