East Penn Press

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

LEHIGH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE in Police Log

Two persons charged with animal cruelty and neglect

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin announced Nov. 2 two persons have been charged with animal cruelty and neglect.

Melanie Rehrig, 33 and Jason Wieder, 39, both of the 900 block of Hillcrest Drive South, Macungie, are both charged with five counts of alleged aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony of the third degree; six counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor of the second degree; six counts of neglect of animals, a misdemeanor of the third degree and 86 counts of neglect of animals, a summary offense, according to a media release from the district attorney’s office.

The misdemeanor charge of neglect of animals reflects the severity of neglect, which caused bodily injury to six of the animals at the Hill Crest Drive south residence.

Rehrig and Wieder were to be arraigned Nov. 2 through Central Booking, according to a media release from the district attorney’s office.

According to authorities, on Oct. 15, Barbara Morgan, humane police officer for the Lehigh County Humane Society, was called to a residence in th 900 block of Hillcrest Drive South. Morgan met Sgt. Travis Kocher and Cpl. Michael Mullen of the Macungie Police Department and Rehrig, who allowed entrance into the residence.

The police officers had been called to investigate a barking dog complaint, but upon seeing the conditions of the residence and number of animals living there, called the Lehigh County Humane Society for assistance.

Because of the conditions found there, the house was deemed too hazardous to enter without breathing equipment, according to authorities. Upon examination of the house and property, Morgan reported finding animals living in filth and debris and suffering from neglect. The animals found included birds, snakes, rabbits, frogs, pigs, monitor lizards and dogs. Five animals were found dead at the site. Eighty-one were removed from the property because of the unsanitary conditions and concern that the animals were in imminent risk of injury. The animals were taken to the Humane Society for evaluation and care, according to authorities.

Based on the condition of the animals and the property found at the residence in the 900 block of Hillcrest Drive South, it is alleged that Rehrig and Wieder failed to provide care for the animals living at their residence which resulted in ill treatment and death.

As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest has occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation; and the defendants, Rehrig and Wieder, are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.