Home­own­ers face over 100 an­i­mal cru­elty,ne­glect charges

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS -

Le­high County District At­tor­ney Jim Martin an­nounced Fri­day that two peo­ple have been charged with an­i­mal cru­elty and ne­glect fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions from early Oc­to­ber.

Charged are Me­lanie Rehrig, 33, and Ja­son Wieder, 39, of 968 Hill­crest Drive South, Macungie.

On Oc­to­ber 15, Bar­bara Mor­gan, Hu­mane Po­lice Of­fi­cer for the Le­high County Hu­mane So­ci­ety, was called to 968 Hill­crest Drive South. There she met Sgt. Travis Kocher and Cpl. Michael Mullen of the Macungie Po­lice De­part­ment and Rehrig, who al­lowed them to en­ter the home.

The po­lice had been called to in­ves­ti­gate a bark­ing dog com­plaint, but upon see­ing the con­di­tions of the res­i­dence and num­ber of an­i­mals liv­ing there, called the Le­high County Hu­mane So­ci­ety for as­sis­tance.

The house was deemed too haz­ardous to en­ter with­out breath­ing equip­ment. Upon ex­am­i­na­tion of the house and prop­erty, Mor­gan re­ported find­ing an­i­mals liv­ing in filth and de­bris and suf­fer­ing from ne­glect.

The an­i­mals found in­cluded birds, snakes, rab­bits, frogs, pigs, mon­i­tor lizards, and dogs. Five an­i­mals were found dead at the site. Eighty-one were re­moved from the prop­erty be­cause of the un­san­i­tary con­di­tions and con­cern that the an­i­mals were in im­mi­nent risk of in­jury, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

The an­i­mals were taken to the Hu­mane So­ci­ety for eval­u­a­tion and care.

Based on the con­di­tion of the an­i­mals and the prop­erty found at 968 Hill­crest Drive South, au­thor­i­ties al­lege that Me­lanie Rehrig and Ja­son Wieder failed to pro­vide care for the an­i­mals liv­ing at their res­i­dence which re­sulted in ill treat­ment and death.

Both Rehrig and Wieder are charged with five counts of ag­gra­vated cru­elty to an­i­mals, a felony of the third de­gree; six counts of cru­elty to an­i­mals, a mis­de­meanor of the se­cond de­gree; six counts of ne­glect of an­i­mals, a mis­de­meanor of the third de­gree; and 86 counts of ne­glect of an­i­mals, a sum­mary of­fense.

The District At­tor­ney’s of­fice noted that the mis­de­meanor charge of ne­glect of an­i­mals re­flects the sever­ity of ne­glect, which caused bod­ily in­jury to six of the an­i­mals at the Hill­crest Drive ad­dress.

Rehrig and Wieder will be ar­raigned later on Fri­day through Cen­tral Book­ing.

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