50 Rabbits Seized From a Farm in Lycoming County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- One day after we told you about a donkey that was shot and killed last week in Lycoming County, word today that less than a half mile away, dozens of rabbits were found in bad condition. Some were dead, and now authorities are talking about filing animal cruelty charges.

"It was terrible. It was sickening," Natasha Atkinson said.

That is how Natasha Atkinson of Hepburn Township describes the living conditions of 50 rabbits in a barn near Montgomery. Atkinson says she was looking to buy piglets earlier this week, and ended up here, at Brouse Road Greenhouse.

"She told me they had no piglets but they had rabbits available," Atkinson said.

Atkinson says she walked into the barn and was shocked when she saw the rabbits.

"They were in like three inches of feces and urine. They had no food. There was trash laying everywhere. They were eating each other. They were starving to death," Atkinson said.

40 of the rabbits are now at the Lycoming County SPCA in Williamsport. Humane Officer Larry Woltz says ten other rabbits died. Woltz says when the SPCA took the rabbits from the property near Montgomery, they had no water or food and were not kept in pens. Some of the rabbits are missing parts of their ears and some are pregnant. Woltz describes what he saw.

"Beating up on each other. Male rabbits can't be put together in the same facility because they're very aggressive," Woltz said.

I asked the lady what they were doing with all these rabbits and she told me they raise them to eat them," Atkinson said.

Now the Lycoming County SPCA is faced with the problem of housing 40 rabbits. The SPCA needs to find happy and safe homes for each and every one of these bunnies.

"I mean, they're house pets, like you would keep a dog or a cat," Woltz said.

Woltz says he plans to file animal cruelty charges against the rabbit breeders. He also says a veterinarian will come to the Lycoming County SPCA next week to check out the rabbits. Once the rabbits have been checked out, they'll be put up for adoption. If you are interested, contact the Lycoming County SPCA at 570-322-4646.


  • Website

    That is so awful. If they are raising them for livestock then they could have at least fed the rabbits and clean the barn. I can’t believe there would be such irresponsible people.

  • ha ha

    The bottom line is those monsters were killing bunnys for food. That’s what monsters get for killing bunnys.
    The SPCA guys is a monstet too. Once I found a nice little squirel that fell out of a tree and I called the SPCA to see if they helped squirels Mr. Monster said “sure bring him up we’ll helphe out. After he took the squirel he killed it and told me they kill all squirels because “they” consider them “vermin”. It still bugs me to this day because I took that squirel there to get him help.

  • John

    Ah another bunny hugger who has no clue, To Mr. Woltz? Rabbits CAN be companion animals so can a chicken, duck, especially pigs… etc, this lady said she went there to get piglets, as pets? or to raise and eat? This housing doesn’t look that bad. The rabbits “eating” each other is not really true, they will attack the lesser males and yes I have seen ear chewing on rabbits kept in colonies before. Clearly these rabbits are not starving, otherwise they would not be breeding and this video is clear that the rabbits are in ideal weight, females have nice fatty dewlaps….

    OK, now down to the legal issue, the seizure means these rabbits are EVIDENCE, and as EVIDENCE they can not be adopted out. If the breeders have signed the rabbits over without being told of the rights to due process for trial then their civil rights are being violated. What will it take do the courts really need to be sued to do the right thing? You can not break the law and violate your oath just so you can take somebody to court, there is a PROCESS!

    At best they can be hit with a summary offence, another trial We will have to attend as we plan to start filing against all this “animal shelters” who clearly don’t know the law, and abuse the justice system and waste taxpayer money.

    • Bob

      The SPCA officer working for Lycoming County has a long track record of abuse of power. He regularly lies and fabricates evidence in court cases,lies to obtain search warrants and is totally untrustworthy. It is true- he does not know or understand the law, he just makes things up as he goes. Even sadder is the fact that local Judges support his illegal citations,seizures and murder of beloved pets all too often.

  • Really

    I really think the SPCA needs a person to focus on the companion animals and someone else to focus on the livestock calls….Everytime I hear a farm story I wonder how much is fact and how much is added to make the general public feel bad. As someone who raises livestock I find I that’d to believe some of the stories that gets broadcasted.

  • Steve

    @ Ann I don’t think you read “seriously” post all the way. Sounds like he/she is commenting on the people arguing that the rabbits are live stock and should live in filth because they’re food. He’s referring to “dumb animals” as victims being blamed for the owners getting arrested. That’s what I got from it. Instead of cursing him out try proving him wrong about the natives of NEPA.

  • Ann

    First of all with your seriously comment I don’t know what gives u the right to say anything about people in pa I was born raised and I still live in pa if u were not raised here keep ur mouth shut animal cruelty is a big thing we treat our animals as family so ur either stupid or ur a heartless person that DOES NOT need to be commenting on this subject. Would u think it was stupid if it was a child?? Or don’t u care about that either get out of our state go back to ur own country because is seems like the people from other countries are the ones that don’t have a heart so STAY AWAY

    • Tom R

      Please remember that this is an open news forum. Seriously? has EVERY right to their own opinion, even if you do not agree with it. You also have EVERY right to your own opinion, but please do not tell other people to “keep their mouth shut”. We live in the USA, and you have NO right to tell other people what they can or cannot say.

    • DE

      Your not the boss of us. And just because someone isn’t raised here doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice if we live here now. This just the small minded kind of thinking that people despise.

    • Seriously?

      Take a pill honey. I love animals. Have a few. Can’t stand stupid people. Thanks for making my point.

    • Jeff Jay

      @ Ann he means people here blame the ones or animals who are abused or killed sometimes, for people abusing them. People are supposed to be far superior in intelligence, thus non humans are considered “dumb animals”. I don’t think he meant dumb as in useless or lesser than worthy. A lot of people here still look at animals and kids as not worth paying much attention to.

  • Seriously?

    The more time I spend in Pa the more I ask what’s wrong with you people? There’s got to be more to all these mine fires than just smoke. You always blame the victims even when their dumb animals. This is a beautiful state too bad the natives are so ugly with their beliefs. Sad really, really sad.

    • Lilly

      This happens everywhere, you just won’t hear about it on a national news network. This is local news for the area, so of course you’ll believe it only happens here. They mostly cover news from the area. I can’t believe this needs to be explained to you.

  • Steve

    You’d be freaking out if it was a beef ranch with cows feeding off carcasses wouldn’t you? Works out the same. If you want quality out you put quality in. Filth and starvation leads to death and disease. I personally don’t want to eat any animal that’s diseased from eating a diseased dead thing.

  • amy

    There is never a good reason to commit any animal to a life of cruelty. If an animal is raised for the purpose of food, then the obvious would be to give it food and water. To cut down disease, the area would be cleaned. That being said, people who are cruel to animals TEND to have some form of MENTAL disorder (and yes I am qualified to say it). The farmers I know keep their barns clean, feed and supply water, and are not mean to the animals. They may not be house pets, but they are still raised with a level of kindness. Rabbits are not food for everyone. We keep them as pets and love them like any other house pet. Dahmer ate people and thought it was ok! The definition of “free country” does not mean we do what we want. This is a country governed by laws and rules. The prisons are full of deviants that can’t follow rules. Those who are in for some most heinous crimes started with cruelty to animals. If you want to eat what you raise, so be it. But it is not a free pass to torture it before it lands on your plate. I on the other hand will hug, kiss, and love my fur friends. There is nothing gross about that.

    • DE

      I agree with you except for the mental disorder part. These kind are just evil, plain and simple evil, bad, and horrible.

  • Teresa

    Raising rabbits for food in safe and healthy conditions is one thing being lazy and cruel to them is another. There is no reason to neglect the well being of them just because there going to be on your plate someday. As for them being house pets I have two and they are awesome pets that even use the litter box.

  • Ashley Dancho

    Rabbits are not house pets. We raise meat rabbits and also eat rabbits we hunt. Many people we know also raise rabbits for meat. I,would never keep a rabbit in my house. Gross! I don’t think anyone has a right to tell others what to do. Rabbits belong in the stew pot. This is supposed to be a free country. We can choose what we eat. Soon the SPCA will be giving human rights to rabbits too along with the dogs and cats. I can’t believe that guy said rabbits were house pets. Maybe in your house, not mine. Donate them to hungry people.

    • Christina

      You are entitled to your opinion. But let others have theirs. I personally would not eat a rabbit kept in the conditions these rabbits were kept in. As a fellow meat breeder I think their living arrangements were counter productive of their purpose. Your goal is to mature them as fast as possible, and not feeding them or watering them stunts growth and development.

      • Dustfinger

        just because the animals didnt have food in front of their faces does not mean they were not fed. as for some dying after spca took them, doesnt surprise me at all, rabbits stress and go into shock quite easily. raising rabbits in a community environment is not unhealthy either, of course there will be poo on the ground and probably lots of it! they are LIVESTOCK, just like cows and goats and sheep…pray tell the last time you went to a feedlot and saw cows without a scratch or tear anywhere on their bodies? life happens, we dont eat the fur!

      • A bigger Jackass

        @ dustfinger did you not see the part where there was no food and the RABBITS WERE EATING EACH OTHER??? Do you want to eat a cow thats been feeding on dead cows? Same thing idiot.

    • Lilly

      Rabbits can be raised as house pets. My husband had a rabbit that was trained to use a litter box. He even did little tricks. How is that different from a cat? They are raised for competition in 4H.

      My husband and I both come from farming families and have eaten rabbits before. But, just because animals are raised to eat, does not mean they should be treated badly. All of our cows, pigs and rabbits are treated with respect. They are fed daily, watered and are living in clean conditions. We even give them baths. This isn’t about “giving animals human rights. Making sure that these animals are not being abused and mistreated is a simple act of kindness. Even nature deserves respect from time to time.

Comments are closed.