Humane officer's case remanded to district court
A judge remanded a case involving Indiana County’s chief animal-law officer to district court on Friday.
The move grants humane officer Lisa Wier’s request to have her case again put before Magisterial District Judge Susanne Steffee and tested through a preliminary hearing.
Wier is facing a single misdemeanor count of forgery on an accusation that she signed the Indiana County Humane Society veterinarian’s name on a document certifying that a shelter dog had been neutered. The dog, however, had not been neutered, a fact eventually discovered by the family that adopted it, according to court papers.
State police in Indiana opened an investigation into the matter following a complaint from the veterinarian, Robyn T. Barton, who no longer works with the Humane Society. Barton has said that to have her name appear on a document attesting to the completion of a procedure that never took place tarnishes her reputation.
Wier was prepared to defend herself at a preliminary hearing before Susanne Steffee in March, but ultimately waived her right to one on an agreement with prosecutors. In exchange for forgoing the hearing, Wier was offered the chance to apply for admission into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition.
The offer was extended with Barton’s approval. But Barton later withdrew her support for the deal, and as a result, Wier was denied admission into the program.
Following that decision, Wier petitioned the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas to either enforce the deal or remand the case to district court.
On Friday, President Judge William Martin said that in fairness to both parties, the case should be handed back to Steffee.
Wier also is the society’s shelter manager, and it’s in that capacity that she is being charged. The humane society is under contract with the county to provide animal control services and to enforce animal laws.