Delco attorney charged with 43 counts of cruelty after dogs seized

The Delaware County lawyer whose pet "rescue" operation was raided by authorities last month and 28 dogs seized has been charged with dozens of counts of animal cruelty.

My colleague Mari Schaefer reports in Saturday's Inquirer:

Terry Silva, 53, was charged Friday with 43 counts of animal cruelty after sick and underweight animals were found in her filthy Delaware County house, the Pennsylvania SPCA announced.

Last month, PSPCA officers, executing a search warrant, removed 28 dogs from Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue Inc., which SIlva operated out of her Marcus Hook property.

Many of the dogs - German shepherds and shepherd mixes - were ill, the agency said.

An employee, Samantha Kenney, 28, of Marcus Hook, was charged with 28 counts of animal cruelty.

"All I know is that they had dogs next door," said Josephine Henry. She said the smell in the small walkway between the buildings was overpowering, especially in the summer. "I used to hold my nose."

Silva, a lawyer and former solicitor for the Chichester Area School Board, was cited in 2010 by the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for illegally transporting dogs from North Carolina.

Marcus Hook has cited her for "possession of dogs producing odors, smells, and noises."

The PSPCA charges carry the weight of law, said spokeswoman Wendy Marano, and Silva will be notified of a court date.

One elderly dog was so incapacitated it had to be euthanized. The other dogs were either adopted or placed with rescue groups, the PSPCA said.

Silva has had multiple run-ins with authorities involving her so-called animal rescue operations in the past.

In November 2010 a property used by Silva to house dogs was raided by the PSPCA after complaints of unsanitary conditions and sick dogs. More than a dozen dogs were removed and a caretaker was charged with cruelty in that instance.

Silva was issued a state kennel license in 2009 and it was renewed through 2012, despite numerous violations, including poor record keeping and failure to possess health certificates from dogs transported from other states. She did not renew her license for 2013, authorities said.