Rewards offered in PA, NJ dog cruelty cases

Another day, another heinous act of cruelty in Pennsylvania. This time in Coatesville where the remains of a Yorkshire terrier were found smoldering in a trash bag early Saturday.

My colleague Bonnie Cook filed this report Sunday afternoon:

A Chester County resident and animal advocate is offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever set a dog afire early Saturday in Coatesville and left it to die.

The animal, a Yorkshire terrier mix between three and five years old, was found by firefighters who responded to what they thought was a trash fire at 2:37 a.m. in the 300 block of Coates Street.

The 15 to 20-pound dog with silver, black and blonde fur was in a trash bag.

It was dead at the scene, said Rich Britton, spokesman for the Chester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Rescue workers took the remains to the SPCA shelter in West Chester for examination. A necropsy is planned for Monday at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School of Medicine's New Bolton Center. The results are expected by Tuesday, Britton said.

Thomas G. Hickey, Sr., founder of animal advocacy group and a member of the Governor's Dog Law Advisory Board, said he was dismayed to learn of the case of animal cruelty from news reports on Sunday morning.

He put up the reward money, he said, in the hope that others would do the same.

"I'm hoping if we get enough money, somebody in Coatesville will say, for that amount of money I'll make a call," Hickey said. "The only way it stops, is if someone gets arrested, and we deal with it as a crime."

Britton said the Chester County SPCA has "zero tolerance" for cruelty to animals.

"This appears to be abhorrent behavior to an innocent life, a young animal that is sweet and defenseless, and that is being taken advantage of in the worst of ways," he said.

Britton said Coatesville police detectives and animal investigators were keeping details of the dog's death out of the public eye until they can say definitively what happened. He did confirm, however, that a woman came forward and said the dog might be hers.

Coatesville resident Aigner Brown said her terrier went missing Friday. She could not be reached for comment Sunday because her phone mailbox was full.

In Pennsylvania, cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor. If convicted, the perpetrator could be sentenced to two years in jail and a $1,000 fine, or both, Britton said. A psychiatric evaluation is also required.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or Read her blog MontCo Memo at

This case comes on the heels of a tragic episode in New Jersey, where the body of a male dachshund was found Tuesday inside a dog carrier floating in the Navesink River in Monmouth County.

Investigators believe the 5 year old dog was alive when it was thrown in the river.

The Humane Society and the Monmouth County SPCA are offering rewards in this case totaling $3,500.

The HSUS in it press release points out that there is a clear correlation between cruelty to animals and violence against humans 

“Anyone who could throw a defenseless dog into a river to face certain death can be dangerous to people, too,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, HSUS’ New Jersey state director. “We are hopeful that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this case."

Monmouth County SPCA Chief Victor “Buddy” Amato is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 732-312-7153.

The sad truth is that it's very rare these perpetrators are caught. I have reported on many cruelty cases in the past three years of writing this blog and with the exception of someone getting caught in the act (ie. Chester County veterinarian Tom Stevenson) these cases are almost never solved.

We hope there will be justice for the Yorkie.