Wilkes-Barre City Controller Snyder faces second animal cruelty charge

WILKES-BARRE β€” A second animal cruelty charge has been filed against Darren Snyder for allegedly kicking one of his dogs outside his downtown home earlier this month.

The Wilkes-Barre University Police Department on Aug. 11 charged Snyder, the Wilkes-Barre City Comptroller-elect, with the first set of aggravated felonies based on information provided by the same witness.

Snyder, 46, did not return calls made Monday from his work or personal cell phone.

Although the allegations related to two different dates, the alleged abuse took place over a longer period of time and prompted a witness to secretly videotape it from a window while Snyder walked by with his two dogs on a leash.

A witness, Kathy Pelcher, reported the alleged abuse to school police on Aug. 1 in the area of ​​165 S. Franklin St. at 9:19 p.m. As a result, police filed a misdemeanor citation, which alleged that Snyder “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly kicked the dog twice in the head.”

The citation carries a $300 fine, and when combined with costs and fees, the total comes to $474.

In an emailed response, Wilkes University said the crime was based on evidence provided by witnesses at the time. The school police department reviewed the video surveillance footage. “This footage does not definitively establish whether any injuries were caused to the animal (required for a misdemeanor charge), but we saw enough to believe that a summary offense was warranted.”

Two days later, on Aug. 3, Pelchar filmed Snyder allegedly abusing the two dogs and turned the video over to Wilkes-Barre Police Department officers.

The complaint, filed the next day, said Pelchar said Snyder, who is known to her, “is consistently abusive to her two dogs while walking them.” She was unable to obtain video of Snyder abusing one of the dogs on Aug. 2, but was able to the next night.

The city police opened a criminal case against them for animal cruelty and hooliganism. Snyder. A preliminary hearing in Snyder’s case is set for 9:15 a.m. Sept. 13 in Luzerne County Central Court.

Public reaction to the initial set of allegations prompted Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown to issue a statement that he did not have the authority to discipline another elected official. The city controller acts independently of the mayor’s office.

Brown’s statement said, β€œIt would be clearly inappropriate for me to comment on pending criminal charges involving the city comptroller. As disturbing as I find these allegations, this case involves criminal charges brought by the Wilkes-Barre Police Department against an elected city official. As Mayor, I have neither the jurisdiction nor the authority to determine the next course Mr. Snyder should take. I hope he makes the right decision for himself, his family and the people who elected him.”

Snyder, a Democrat, was first elected to the position in 2015 and was re-elected to a second, four-year term in 2019. His salary was scheduled to be $55,549 plus benefits.

Contact Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.

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