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Rescued from Neglect: What Happens Next?

By Krista Koontz, Humane Investigations Coordinator

People often ask our Humane Society police officers what happens to animals seized as part of a humane investigations case. Many are concerned that these animals will be euthanized or required to spend the duration of their investigations and court proceedings in cages. While we have to make special considerations for animals that are part of humane investigations, they are provided with the same high standard of care as all the pets we help at Animal Friends.

In Pennsylvania, animals are legally personal property, giving the animal owner specific legal rights throughout the course of the investigation. As a result, if the owner does not surrender their animal during an investigation or if humane officers are unsure who owns the animal, humane officers are legally required to hold the animal until the courts order the officer to assume the animal’s ownership, the owner voluntarily relinquishes the animal’s ownership or until all avenues are exhausted to determine the animal’s owner and no one has come forward. During this time, the humane o