Do Pennsylvania Authorities Link Animal Cruelty to Child Abuse?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

You might not think an animal cruelty case could be related to child abuse, but the two crimes can often be linked. A couple in New Jersey that was found to be mistreating foster dogs also had their child taken from them—their animal abuse created terrible living conditions that affected the safety and welfare of the child.

Animal Cruelty Case Leads to Child Abuse Investigation

A couple in New Jersey were arrested for animal cruelty and endangering a child in late August 2023. Rebeccah Hallbach and Brandon Leconey were working with a North Carolina animal rescue, agreeing to foster dogs in their home in exchange for money. However, the couple did not take care of the dogs at all, leaving them to starve and die.

The animal rescue sent a representative to their home to investigate after suspecting the couple wasn't properly caring for the dogs. When the representative saw the conditions in the home, they immediately called the police. Officers found the remains of 30 dead dogs in the house. They also believe as many as 100 had died there, and some may be buried on the property. Fourteen living dogs were found, along with several cats and rabbits.

There was also a nine-year-old child living in the house, and police removed them and placed them in the care of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency. Hallbach and Leconey were arrested shortly after.

Animal Cruelty and Child Endangerment

Although animal cruelty and endangering the welfare of a child seem unrelated and they are indeed separate crimes, they can be closely linked. In the case of this New Jersey couple, their maltreatment of animals led to deplorable conditions in the home, which threatened the safety of the child.

These two crimes are often linked because they both tend to take place at home. They can remain unseen until a witness happens to see something they consider suspicious and reports it. Once you get reported for animal cruelty, the police might take a closer look at your living conditions if you have children, and if they spot anything amiss, it could launch an investigation by ChildLine.

What to Do If You Are Accused of Child Abuse or Endangerment

If you are being investigated for endangering the welfare of a child in Pennsylvania, you shouldn't sit back and wait to see what happens. You should take action and do whatever you can to keep your child with you. At the LLF Law Firm, we help parents who've been accused of child abuse as they go through each step of the process. Let us help you keep your family together. Call today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online for a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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