Animal abuse cases are brought to light by various news reporters and the use of social media. Animal cruelty cases themselves are investigated and brought to justice by your local humane society police officer (HSPO). The roles of humane officers vary from state to state, but Lackawanna County has only one Humane Officer. The HO investigates all animal cruelty cases in Lackawanna County and is employed by Griffin Pond Animal Shelter.
To be employed as a standard Police Officer in the state of Pennsylvania, an individual must successfully complete a certified Act 120 program. In Pennsylvania, to become a Humane Society Police Officer, individuals employed by an animal organization must become certified though successfully completing the Act 135 program (Humane Society Police Officer Enforcement Act). PA Humane Society Police Officers have the authority to enforce the cruelty section of the PA Crimes Code, Title 18, Section 5511. In addition, HSPOs who have an Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) license can issue citations without the assistance of Pennsylvania police officers.
Anyone can call in a report directly to Griffin Pond Animal Shelter or the police, who then forward reports to Humane Officer Scala. Animal Abuse includes mutilation, physical abuse, neglect and starvation. Please Note – The protocol may vary depending on imminent danger and severity of the case, as well as compliance of the animal owner.
Many boroughs and cities mandate ordinances which limit residents to a maximum of four animals/household. Please check your city/borough ordinance to learn what the maximum amount of animals per residence is in your city/borough. This could be very useful in removing animals during abuse investigations.
Griffin Pond Animal Shelter employs the Humane Society Police Officer for Lackawanna County: Humane Officer 570-586-3700
Animal Control Officer Katie Neary 570-348-4180, ext 7
PA State Dog Law Enforcement, Department of Agriculture
Keeping Pennsylvania Growing means managing the millions of dogs living in the state. The Dog Law Enforcement Office is responsible for ensuring the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies in commercial breeding kennels. The Office also regulates activities pertaining to dogs that are classified as dangerous, and oversees annual licensure and rabies vaccinations for dogs.
Stray dogs, aka “Dogs at Large” are handled by the State Dog Wardens. Each County has one State Dog Warden, who in some cases handle multiple counties. Some cities also have animal control officers. In Lackawanna County, only the city of Scranton has an animal control officer who handles animal concerns within the city limits.
Stray Cats and the “TNR” ~ Trap, Neuter, & Release Programs: There is no question that stray cats are becoming a major problem in almost every city and town across the country. The feral cat colonies are spreading and there is no easy fix for this situation. In Lackawanna County alone, the estimated population of feral cats is over 100,000! The feral cat population predicament was started by people abandoning cats that were not neutered or spayed.
As GPAS is a nonprofit organization has limited resources and a small staff who are all needed at the shelter to care for over 250 animals in our care each day. For that reason, our organization has only an intake only policy which means animals must be brought to the shelter by animal control officials or by the public to be surrendered to the shelter for care. Fortunately there are several volunteer groups and organizations that try very hard to help this matter by educating the public about Feral Cat Colonies and implementing trap, neuter and release programs.