Woman guilty of 22 counts of animal cruelty

A Susquehanna County woman was found guilty Thursday afternoon of 22 counts of animal cruelty and can no longer own more than three dogs at a time for the next five years.

Jeanne Knapp, 53, of Thompson, appealed 78 animal cruelty summary convictions she received last winter by District Judge Peter Janicelli to the Court of Common Pleas.
Knapp was represented in court by attorney Robert Hollister, and President Judge Kenneth Seamans issued his ruling.
Knapp was convicted of one animal cruelty count for each of the 22 dogs seized from her home.
She was found not guilty on 12 counts and 44 counts were dismissed by the judge.
In December 2009, animal control officers seized 22 dogs and four birds from Knapp’s Main St. residence.
Since the animals were seized, two of the dogs have died.
The judge ordered the surviving dogs be returned to Knapp’s daughter, Teresa (Knapp) Sherman, of Afton, N.Y.
The move to return the dogs disappointed some of the people in the courtroom who were hoping to adopt the dogs. They have been fostering the animals in their homes and wish not to be identified.
The prosecution had been presented testimony in May and again on Monday before yesterday’s witnesses appeared for the defense.
On Monday, Dr. Kimberly Russell, a veterinarian for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who took the stand for the prosecution said, “It was one of the worst cases I’ve seen out of the hundreds of animal cruelty cases I’ve seen.”
Russell noted, “Every single animal was suffering from some form of neglect.”
Sherman took the stand Thursday and produced American Kennel Club registration papers for two of the dogs that were at her mother’s house when the dogs were seized. One of Sherman’s dogs died in July.
Along with Sherman, Knapp’s son William and her sister Jodi Albanese took the stand for the defense.
Sherman said Knapp “loved (the dogs) almost like her children.”
The three witnesses all testified that Knapp had been depressed after a break-up with a boyfriend in the fall of last year before the animals were seized.
Upon cross examination by assistant District Attorney Marion O’Malley, Albanese said she was “shocked and appalled” by some of the pictures and the condition of the animals.
Knapp must also pay over $46,645 in restitution to the Pennsylvania SPCA; and was fined an additional $50 per conviction.
  • Diane Mastrando

    Can someone explain why a judge would allow this woman, convicted of 22 counts of animal cruelty, to have any being under her care. What kind of penalty is it to allow her only three dogs now, and in five years she may have as many as she would like, as if some how magically she will evolve and somehow become capable/stable. Will there be some reassessment of her ability to be humane towards animals?
    It would be helpful if appointed Judge Seamans would explain his actions in this case.
    I may be missing important facts on this. Please feel free to send me information pertaining to this case.

  • teresa knapp

    search warrent was so jacked up it will all be thrown out and she can own as many pets as she would like the spca killed 3 pets while in their care wich they will be sued for… what the judge orders goes and the spca was found guilty of contempt for not returing MY PETS… TO BAD SO SAD

  • Really luvmydogs

    This is the woman that my 2 fosters are court ordered to be returned to. Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kenneth Seamans is allowing the return of 22 animals to her after she was convicted. The PSPCA lawyer tells me in her 17 years she has never been involved in the RETURN of animals after such a conviction. The judge has the choice to award or deny. Is he crazy or just an animal hater? He is voted in office and should be voted out.

  • Shaynne Askar

    CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT:

    PAY OVER $46,645 TO THE PA SPCA. I THINK THEIR BS CHARGES ARE A WAY TO JACK MONEY OUT OF PEOPLE. ITS FUNNY HOW THEY HAVE FOSTER HOMES FOR DOGS IN PENNSYLVANIA WHILE CHILDREN ARE CONSTANTLY SEXUALLY ABUSED OVER THERE???!!! NASTY…..VERY NASTY. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR BEHINDS PEOPLE.