Lancaster County SPCA Exec. Dir. fires back after DA asks her to step down
LANCASTER, Pa.–The executive director for the Lancaster County SPCA issued a response Friday after the Lancaster County District Attorney called for her to step down.
Lancaster County District Attorney announced Thursday he had filed a petition seeking Susan Martin’s suspension over her handling of the Libre case.
Read Susan Martin’s full statement below:
“As a person with a lifelong commitment to animal welfare, I am disappointed that the District Attorney’s office has filed a suit to revoke my license as an animal control officer. I would gladly relinquish that license without any civil action. In fact, I welcome the District Attorney’s willingness to finally take on the important role of enforcing animal cruelty laws as a vital function of County government. This will allow more time for me to focus on the SPCA’s mission of caring for animals in need.”
“As to my decision to not prosecute the owner responsible for Libre’s circumstances, let me be clear: As animal control officer, I have consulted with the District Attorney’s office about the decision of whether or not to bring charges in every case of animal abuse or neglect. Libre’s case is no exception. The decision I made to not bring charges against Libre’s owner was based on consultation with the DA’s office via numerous phone conversations, text messages, and email exchanges beginning on July 2nd, when Libre’s case was reported to me. Simply put, the District Attorney’s office indicated an unwillingness to prosecute this case absent the availability of a reliable witness. ”
“I’m telling you this now, to ensure that the public is provided with a more complete and balanced understanding of all of the parties and processes that are involved in animal cruelty cases, and in Libre’s case specifically.
Executive Director, Lancaster County SPCA”
In response to Martin’s statement, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office said:
“As we stated at Thursday’s press conference, the Pennsylvania State Police review of the case revealed Ms. Martin misrepresented the facts to us in notifying us she was closing the investigation. She never asked to file charges, or for approval to do so.”
“Also, as we stressed at the conference, the Libre investigation is only a small piece of the ongoing substandard conduct referred to in our petition. We are prepared to present a detailed set of facts at the hearing.”
“We remain committed to legislative change and improving overall conditions for animals in our communities.”
“We have already taken steps for countywide training of all police officers whom will be involved in these investigations. Also, District Attorney Stedman has personally contacted a state legislator about advancing legislative change in animal cruelty laws.”