SHAMOKIN — The Reitz Dairy Farm owners, who were accused of animal cruelty by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), had their farm inspected by state police on June 27, and were found not to have violated animal cruelty laws.

The charges stemmed from PETA's concerns of alleged ill treatment and improper veterinary care of dairy cows at Reitz Dairy Farm, in Shamokin Township, Northumberland County.

On June 13 and 20, state troopers from the Stonington barracks met with representatives from PETA.

Given PETA's complaint, based on whistleblowers at the farm who had produced a video of the alleged cruelty, farm owners Lloyd Reitz Sr. and his son, Andrew, were interviewed by police on June 25, and consented to a search of the farm.

The licensed veterinarian that is under contract by the Reitz farm was contacted as well.

While at the farm, trooper Austin Bennett of Troop F, Stonington, and Cpl. Michael Spada, Pennsylvania State Police animal cruelty officer, accompanied by the Reitzes and the veterinarian, conducted an investigation and inspection, based on PETA's complaint. This included all barns on the property. Interviews were also conducted concerning treatment of the animals, the conditions of the living environment, and the veterinary care of the animals.

Based on observations and other factors involved in common, accepted farming and agricultural practices and procedures, no violations of the animal cruelty laws were observed, Spada said.

Daniel Paden, PETA vice president of evidence analysis, after seeing the police report, said, "Pennsylvania law prohibits beating cows, denying them necessary veterinary care and keeping them trapped in their feces and urine for months, all of which PETA's video shows occurring at Reitz Dairy."

PETA understands that the state police's investigation "remains open and active," Paden said, "and we look forward to the findings. Caring people need not wait for the law to protect animals from such egregious suffering. The best way to spare cows and calves such pain and misery is to stop buying cheese and other dairy products and to choose from among the abundance of healthier, plant-based alternatives that are available everywhere."

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