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Tanis Forced to Forfeit Five Dogs

SCRANTON — A controversial case involving a man and his dogs was back in court in Lackawanna County on Friday. A judge decided that some of the dogs seize...
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SCRANTON -- A controversial case involving a man and his dogs was back in court in Lackawanna County on Friday.

A judge decided that some of the dogs seized from John Tanis of Moosic can now be put up for adoption.

But, as it has been for Tanis' case so far, the hearing Friday brought controversy and complications.

The number of people who oppose John Tanis has grown over the three years since his latest animal cruelty arrest. A crowd gathered outside the Lackawanna County Courthouse to protest Tanis' efforts to get his dogs back.

Tanis was arrested on animal cruelty charges back in 2013.

In the past three years, 30 of Tanis' dogs -- Labradors and Weimaraners --were seized from Tanis' home in Moosic and then fostered by an animal rights group called Tracey's Hope.

Tanis was not in court on Friday. His attorney argued on his behalf that Tanis should keep ownership of all of his dogs, even though he can't have them during the five years he's on parole.

"And five of them, Weimaraners, are now forfeited legally by court order to Tracey's Hope," said Paul Kelly, attorney for Tracey's Hope.

That means those five dogs can be put up for adoption a judge will decide later if Tanis can keep the other 25 dogs.

Some of them have been fostered for years by families who showed up to court.

"These animals have now become part of their families for the past three years, so there will be another hearing in the near future," said Kelly. "It's a very, very important relationship. Tracey's Hope, as you know, is founded on the principles of care and proper care of animals. They have vetted these foster homes. These dogs are in proper homes now and being properly cared for," said Kelly.

The judge couldn't rule on the remaining 25 dogs just yet. There will be another hearing to decide if those dogs can also be adopted. They'll remain in foster care for now.

We reached Tanis' attorney by phone. he told us that Tanis will not fight the loss of these five dogs, and he may be willing to give up ownership of the remaining 25.

But, Tanis says the dogs are valuable and he wants the foster families to give him a fair price for them.