BCHS to begin Animal Cruelty Investigations in Sullivan County

Photo: Sullivan County Magistrate, Jennifer Vandine and BCHS Humane Officer Lara Hawbaker

Beginning in February 2012, the Bradford County Humane Society will conduct animal cruelty investigations in Sullivan County. After much concern from Sullivan County community members about possible cruelty cases and the need for a humane officer, BCHS met with Sullivan County Commissioners. On February 16, 2012, Officer Hawbaker was sworn in to the Sullivan County Courthouse.

“I would receive calls almost on a weekly basis from Sullivan County residents about investigating emaciated horses, dogs or cattle. Unable to do anything about it because of not being able to investigate in Sullivan County, I urged these people to talk to their local commissioners,” states BCHS Humane Officer Hawbaker.

Before now, Sullivan County did not have a Humane Officer to take control of situations of animal abuse.

In Bradford County alone in 2011, Officer Hawbaker received over 350 calls related to possible animal cruelty. Many of those became humane cases where the animals had to be seized and taken into BCHS. Six cases were so extreme they went to court, where BCHS won. All of the animals seized have since been adopted.
Hawbaker plans to work with Sullivan County to make them aware of the laws and their responsibilities as pet owners. “I have worked with many people in Bradford County to rectify situations rather than filing charges or seeking a warrant for seizures in some cases. I hope to do this in Sullivan County as well to build a good rapport between members of that community and BCHS.”

The job of the BCHS Humane Officer is one of law enforcement, teacher, counselor and voice of the animals that she is sworn to defend and protect.
If you see signs of animal cruelty, call the Animal Cruelty line at BCHS at 570-888-4763. All calls remain confidential.