Unexpected Kane resident

“Romeo” the Kangaroo is one of more than 30 animals police say were living in unsanitary conditions at a Wetmore Township location. Four people have been charged in connection to the incident.


It’s not every day that police find a kangaroo when investigating a cruelty to animals complaint.

Yet that’s exactly what happened at 1000 JoJo Road in Wetmore Township earlier this week.

Kane-based state police went to the property at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to investigate an anonymous complaint made through the Department of Agriculture.

What they found was multiple animals living in unclean and unsanitary conditions. The animals were 21 dogs, 12 horses, an alpaca, a pig and a kangaroo.

“It’s definitely a strange case,” said Trooper Ryan Marcinko of the Kane barracks.

Cruelty to animal charges will be filed against the following Kane residents: Robert B. Swanson, 57, Selene N. Swanson, 75, Vanessa S. McGivern, 48, and Christopher M. Moore, 39, according to police.

Phone numbers for the four could not be located immediately on Wednesday.

There was no indication that possession of the kangaroo was illegal.

State police also notified the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the state dog warden and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The DEP was called due to a large mound of manure that was running off across the road into a stream, according to Marcinko.

Details remained sketchy on Wednesday, with the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement referring questions to the state police and the McKean County SPCA.

The DEP and Game Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

As of Wednesday evening, it appeared that only the kangaroo had been removed from the property. No one could immediately answer questions regarding the whereabouts of the marsupial at that time.

A spokesperson for the SPCA said only that they had been contacted by the state police, but were not able to enter private property to remove animals on their own. She indicated they were awaiting further direction from the state police in the matter.

Chris Niklaus of Kane, who lives down the road from Swanson, was unaware of the charges brought against them. He remembers taking horse riding lessons at the farm when it was still owned by the Attigan family as a child. Niklaus was unaware the farm had changed hands.

According to McGivern’s Facebook page, she gives horse riding lessons there and has photos of what appears to be a pet kangaroo named “Romeo.”

(Era reporter Ruth Bogdan and correspondent Chuck Abraham contributed to this report.)

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