Lancaster man convicted of animal cruelty in puppy abuse case

A Lancaster man is brought to justice on animal cruelty charges, after police said he abandoned two puppies inside a bird cage last summer.

A judge found Antonio Cruz, of the 500 block of South Shippen Street, guilty of animal cruelty Tuesday.

The two pit bull puppies were only five weeks old and in that short time, all they knew was abuse. A neighbor found the dogs on July 21st, alongside the trash on the corner of South Shippen and Green Streets.

The pups were trapped inside a bird cage with no food or water.

“When they got here, we saw that they were in dire need of some medical need,” said Susan Martin, executive director at the Lancaster County SPCA. “They came in with scabs all over them and open wounds, severe open wounds.”

The dogs were in such bad shape, veterinarians had to put them down.

Lancaster city’s Animal Enforcement Officer Karen Dinkel vowed to do everything she could to find the person responsible. Eventually, her investigation led to Cruz.

“Just nice to have some closure and to know that there is someone accountable for what happened,” Dinkel said.

Cruz received the maximum penalty for a first offense, a $500 fine.

“I don’t know what the penalty should be, but it’s just not enough,” Dinkel said. “It doesn’t bring justice to doing this kind of thing to an animal.”

But Officer Dinkel does want this case to serve as an example that animal abusers can be tracked down and prosecuted, and that there are many ways to prevent helpless animals from losing their lives due to abuse and neglect.

“Don’t throw your dogs on the edge of the curb,” Martin said. “There is help and there’s help out there for people who don’t have the means to surrender their dog to a shelter. Call us. Give us a call and let us help.”