Delaware County woman may face dozens of animal cruelty charges

| Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

A Marcus Hook woman could face “dozens of charges of animal cruelty” after nearly 30 dogs were removed from property on Friday, Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokeswoman Wendy Marano said on Sunday.

Terry Silva signed over 28 dogs to the SPCA that were removed from Sixth Angel Rescue Inc. after authorities served a search warrant there on Friday and found the Delaware County house filled with animal waste, according to an item posted on the SPCA website.

“This is a case of animal rescue gone awry,” George Bengal, director of law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, said in that story. “Instead of helping these animals, the owner of the rescue was actually hoarding them and keeping them in unsanitary conditions without the proper care.”

Bengal and borough officials did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking additional information, but Marano said some of the dogs, mostly German shepherds and shepherd mixes, were in need of medical care. Among the animals were a puppy and a pregnant female.

“One of them was very, very old, and I don't think we were going to be able to do anything for it medically, so one was euthanized,” she said.

The borough's board of health had served an administrative warrant after reportedly receiving numerous complaints of foul odors and poor sanitary conditions.

When SPCA officials saw conditions inside the property, they reportedly asked borough police to secure the building while a search warrant was obtained.

Attorney Joseph Lesniak, representing Silva, said his client is continuing to cooperate with authorities and the investigation, but he has not heard anything else about the case since early Saturday.

Silva, who served as solicitor for the Chichester School District for five years before her dismissal in 2003, has previously been cited by the borough and wardens from the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement regarding her rescue operation.

The most recent citation came in January for dogs continuously barking, according to online court documents.

Marano said charges in this case are pending examination results, but could be filed as soon as today. She said some of the dogs were a bit skinny, but those in good health are available for adoption.

Some of the animals have gone on to foster homes or rescues, but Marano said the majority are being housed at the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia.

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