SCRANTON — An accused animal abuser was back in court Friday morning.
The saga of John Tanis’ animal cruelty case continued in Lackawanna County court. At issue now is Tanis’ bail and whether or not he violated it by keeping more than one dog at his home in Moosic.
“You were there yesterday. You saw the animals that came out of there yesterday. They are beautiful animals. This is harassment from the system, but my lawyer tells me I can’t say anything else,” Tanis said.
Moosic police went to Tanis’ home on Main Street Thursday and took four Labrador puppies that prosecutors said violated the terms of Tanis’ bail. Tanis said in court under oath that the one dog he was allowed to keep was pregnant but he didn’t know.
That’s a story that prosecutors don’t necessarily buy.
“Being that he surrendered them immediately, maybe not, but I can’t say for sure whether that was his public way of challenging Judge Geroulo,” said Lackawanna County A.D.A. Michael Ossont.
In the end, Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo said Tanis did violate his bail but since he willingly surrendered those Labrador pups, all he got was a warning.
“I know what 1371 North Washington Avenue is like, and it’s not the Hilton. So I am very grateful that the judge was able to look at this objectively,” Tanis said.
Tanis is referring to the Lackawanna County Prison, a punishment the judge said he will consider if more dogs are found at Tanis’ home.
“All you need to remember are two three-letter words, ‘one dog.’ Or the next time you see me, you will go to jail,” Judge Geroulo said in court.
Tanis was charged with animal cruelty last year after neighbors in Moosic and animal rights groups accused him of abusing more than a dozen dogs on his property.
Tanis is scheduled for trial on those charges next month.