Most charges dropped in animal-control officer threat case

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Most charges were dropped for a Hopewell Township man accused of threatening an animal-control officer.
  • Paul Leahy, 62, pleaded guilty to harassment, according to DA's office spokesman Kyle King.
  • Leahy must pay a $300 fine.

Most charges were dropped for a Hopewell Township man who was accused of threatening an animal-control officer last year.

Paul Michael Leahy, 62, of 4389 Hess Road, entered a negotiated plea agreement Thursday in which he pleaded guilty to harassment, according to York County District Attorney's Office spokesman Kyle King.

Leahy's previous charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment, were dismissed, King said.

He was ordered to pay a $300 fine, which must be paid in 60 days.

The background: State police have said Leahy threatened the officer when she came to his home Oct. 10.

According to police, animal-control Officer Michelle Klugh went to Leahy's residence about 11:30 a.m. to investigate a dog-law complaint. She told officers a man she described as looking like an "Elvis Presley impersonator," later identified as Leahy, came to her car, reached inside, grabbed her arm and allegedly said, "I'm going to kill you," police have said.

She told police Leahy said, "I have a double barrel for you," documents state.

Paul Leahy

Another woman, Margaret Jenkins, told police Leahy allegedly pointed at her and said, "I have a double barrel for you, old hag," documents state.

State police troopers arrived and took Leahy into custody.

King said Friday that the victims were consulted before the plea agreement was made. Scott Harper, Leahy's attorney, said that the victims agreed to the plea.

Harper said Jenkins is Klugh's mother, and they had come to the house to collect money after retrieving a dog for Barbara Brodbeck, the mother of Leahy's girlfriend, Melissa Brodbeck. He said they asked for $50 cash and would not accept a check for their services, and they wouldn't leave the property.

Harper said Leahy never told them he would kill them. Leahy apparently told Judge Gregory M. Snyder that he would "introduce them to his shotgun," Harper said.

It was that comment that brought the harassment plea, Harper said.

After the sentencing, Harper said Leahy was "ecstatic."

“He thought it was a great ending to a terrible thing that could’ve gotten a lot worse,” Harper said.

Prior charges: That incident was not the first time Leahy had a run-in with animal-control authorities. In February 2014, 84 animals were taken from Leahy's residence.

Leahy, Melissa Brodbeck, 34, and Barbara Brodbeck, 68, were cited with 31 counts of animal cruelty.

Hopewell Twp. man accused of threatening animal-control officer

They were ordered to pay $44,000, plus an additional $350 per day after that, to Aglyphic Creatures Rescue, the organization that took care of the animals after they were taken in. The three were the first defendants in Pennsylvania ordered to reimburse an animal-rescue organization under the state's cost-of-care law.

The seized animals included 11 horses, a donkey, 13 dogs, two pot-bellied pigs, 15 chickens, 35 chicken peeps, two exotic birds and two cats, Humane Society Police Officer Ame Kessler, who runs ACR, said at the time.

Kessler said she first went to Leahy's home — a farmhouse with a small barn and several outbuildings — on Feb. 19, 2014, and took Reba, a quarter horse suffering from lice, dermatitis, a secondary skin infection and bite wounds.

She returned to Leahy's home Feb. 28, 2014, with a search warrant and a team of rescuers. It took them six hours to remove all the animals, according to Kessler.

She cited Leahy and the Brodbecks with 31 counts each of summary animal cruelty, saying they failed to provide adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care and allowed the animals to live in unsanitary conditions.

District Judge John Olwert found the trio guilty of 21 counts each of animal cruelty. He also found Leahy guilty of one count of summary harassment for harassing Kessler at the farm.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.