Lancaster man convicted of animal cruelty in puppy abuse case

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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.”


  • MyTakeOnIt

    The dick needs to pay all the costs for retrieval, hospitalization, euthanization and disposal. Should also be fined if they had no license and if he could not produce record of shots. Then he should be shoved into a birdcage and left on the sidewalk.

  • Reader

    The fine for the summary offense of abandoning an animal is a maximum of $750, and since there were two dogs, he should have been charged with two counts. His court docket says he is guilty of one summary offense. His fine was $500 plus costs. But I'm confused as to why this report says the maximum fine is $500, when in fact, it is not.
    From 18 PACS, Section 5511:
    (m.1) Fine for summary offense.–In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a summary offense under this section shall pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $750 or to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.
    (m.2) Prohibition of ownership.–Notwithstanding any provision of law and in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this section may order the prohibition or limitation of the defendant's ownership, possession, control or custody of animals or employment with the care of animals for a period of time not to exceed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment applicable to the offense for which sentence is being imposed.

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