Pennsylvania SPCA executes search warrant on Columbia County property, removes 187 animals over concerns for their welfare

PSPCA Humane Law Enforcement team undertakes large-scale rescue of chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigeons, sheep, horse, donkey and more

Philadelphia, PA (April 22, 2021) – The Pennsylvania SPCA executed a search warrant, removing a total of 187 animals, from a property in Berwick on Wednesday, April 21, over concerns for their welfare.

The Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, acting on a tip from a Good Samaritan, removed 112 pigeons; 37 rabbits, including newborns; 12 sheep, including young lambs; 6 chickens; 2, ducks; 2 dogs; 1 peacock; 1 miniature horse and 1 donkey.

After initially receiving a complaint regarding the welfare of equine type animals and sheep at the location from the Briar Creek Police Department, the PSPCA officers applied for a search warrant.  

A donkey with overgrown hooves, as well as agricultural fowl and sheep could be seen on the property. The animals did not have access to a grazing pasture, instead living in mud and dirt. The sheep were seen in need of shearing. Based upon the conditions there were concerns for overall herd health.  

Upon execution of the warrant, the PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team not only found the aforementioned animals, but discovered hundreds of pigeons, rabbits, chickens, ducks and doves inside structures on the location.

The animals were removed from the property over concerns for unsanitary housing, lack of potable water and lack of veterinary care. The animals went to both the PSPCA’s Danville Center and the PSPCA’s Philadelphia headquarters to be examined and cared for by the shelter’s medical team and a local large animal veterinarian. They have not yet been surrendered by the owner but will remain in the care of the organization as the investigation unfolds.

“While large-scale rescues are not unique to the work we do at the Pennsylvania SPCA, rescues involving this number of birds are more unique,” said Nicole Wilson, Director of Humane Law Enforcement and Shelter Operations. “We are thankful to our animal care team who quickly jumped into action to reconfigure the shelter to safely house the large number of diverse animals involved in this rescue. Meanwhile, our officers are continuing their pursuit of justice.”

The investigation into animal cruelty and neglect is ongoing, and charges are pending the conclusion of the full investigation.

Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty, is urged to call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (866) 601-SPCA. Tips can be left anonymously.

Supporters wanting to contribute to the rescue of animals beyond cats and dogs, are asked to donate to the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Barn Fund:


About the Pennsylvania SPCA
Since 1867, the Pennsylvania SPCA, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization headquartered at 350 East Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, has been dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and rescuing animals from abuse and neglect. The Pennsylvania SPCA's lifesaving programs for animals include a low-cost veterinary clinic, low-cost spay and neuter services, pet adoption facilities, and the Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department. For more information about adopting, donating or volunteering, please call (215) 426.6300 or visit