Five-year Battle over Convicted Animal Abuser’s Dogs Ends with Judge’s Ruling
SCRANTON, Pa. -- The five-year battle between John Tanis and the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office is finally over after a judge ruled the remainder of Tanis' 30 dogs living in foster care can be adopted.
“Now we can permanently place these dogs with the individuals who have volunteered their time and provided care for the dogs,” said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell.
Denise Kumor runs Tracey's Hope. In 2013, the rescue organization stepped in after those dogs were removed from Tanis' home in Moosic, and Tanis was charged with animal cruelty.
“It's unbelievable,” said Kumor. “I mean, we waited so long. We worked so hard, and you know there were times we wanted to give up.”
John Dougherty and his wife adopted one of Tanis' dogs and named her Millie. Dougherty says Millie still has emotional problems five years later.
“She still has issues. She still has problems going through the door,” said Dougherty.
According to the district attorney, under the terms of Tanis' parole, he is barred from having any dogs in his possession. However, Kumor believes that Tanis continues to break the law.
“We know he has another dog, and he can say it's a therapy dog, but I hope he's prepared to prove it,” said Kumor.
During the course of Tanis' criminal case, Tracey's Hope held protests outside Tanis' home as his attorney continue to fight to keep those dogs from being taken away.
“I think there are a lot of watchful eyes on him, not just the authorities but some of these activists who care for animals, and if there is a report to us that he possesses animals then we will investigate and prosecute that action,” said Powell.
Unfortunately, when we spoke to Kumor, the DA's office had closed, and we were unable to contact anyone in the office about those reports of Tanis having another dog.
John Tanis of Moosic, PA was found guilty and charged with 5 counts of Animal Cruelty TODAY in Lackawanna County Court. Tracey's Hope Animal Rights Team would like to thank the officers of the Moosic Police Department (Especially Officers James Decker and Thomas Jenkins) for working so closely with us on getting this man convicted. They were wonderful and many times during these past two years went above and beyond their call of duty in this case. Special thanks to ADA Michael Ossont and ADA Robert Klein for their efforts put forth to win this case. And to Michelle Olsehefski, federal prosecutor and FBI Special Agent Larry Whitehead for coming to the aid of these dogs initially. And thank you Judge Vito Geroulo for allowing us to prove to you that not all animal rights actvists are unreasonable and unlawful. We all worked together for the sake of "justice" ... GOD Bless you all! We love you All!!
The Animal Rights Team for Tracey's Hope, Inc. and our CEO, Denise DeNunzio Kumor
February 18, 2015
MOOSIC — John Tanis was sentenced Wednesday in Lackawanna County to one to two years in prison on animal cruelty charges. Tanis was convicted in December of 2014 on five animal cruelty charges. Tanis has been in jail since April for violating the terms of his bail. During sentencing, Tanis spoke for 40 minutes asserting his innocence. The judge said this case was just the latest in Tanis’ “decades-long defiance of the law.” In addition to prison time, he was ordered to forfeit his dogs that have been in the care of an animal rights group since last year. Tanis has previous convictions on animal cruelty and weapons charges.