MOOSIC -- John Tanis of Moosic is facing five different counts of animal cruelty charges in two separate cases. Tanis has been in court many times before for similar charges, and this time Tanis allegedly mistreated dogs at his home in Moosic.
Dressed in priest attire, Tanis walked out of the Lackawanna County Courthouse claiming he'd done nothing wrong. Tanis, who said he belongs to an International Reform Church and Humane Society, claims he's never hurt any of the dogs inside his home in Moosic.
"We have never abused any animals, we have beautiful animals," said Tanis.
According to court papers, Moosic Police received numerous complaints about alleged animal abuse. When Humane Officers checked it out late October, they found weimaraners in rough condition.
"They were malnourished, completely almost near starvation, their health was in poor condition, there were very non-responsive, it was a very sad to sight to witness," said Adriana Vargas of Tracy's Hope.
"For the animal`s concern, we surrendered them, we never had any idea that there would be criminal charges, especially personally against me," said Tanis.
It's not the first time Tanis has been in trouble. Back in 1996 investigators found dozens of dogs and hauled off many handguns, rifles and explosives from his Moosic Home. In 2003 Tanis was also accused of running a puppy mill in Wyoming County.
Now, Tanis is accused of two more animal abuse cases in Lackawana County
According to court papers in the second animal cruelty case against Tanis, one of his dogs was found outside the Moosic Police Department, that dog appeared to be very skinny and trouble walking.
Tanis claims his dogs suffered from worms and the condition of his dogs was unavoidable, but animal rights activists strongly disagree.
"They would be in a completely different state, we would have found medications for these illnesses to be treated, we would have found some sort of evidence of treatment," said Vargas.
Tanis gave up his right to a preliminary hearing and is headed to trial, defending his side of the story.
"We love them greatly and we`d never do anything to be cruel to an animal," said Tanis.
Tanis will most likely be defending himself as his case moves towards trial. As for the dogs, representatives from Tracy's Hope, an animal rights organization, said they are in a safe location and doing well.