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McKeesport woman found guilty of animal cruelty

By Stacy Lee
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 3:21 a.m.
 

Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi ruled Monday that a McKeesport woman is guilty of animal cruelty.

Juanita Mitchell, 39, was fined $300 fine plus court costs for injuries to her two dogs, which were discovered by McKeesport police officer Mark Marino when he rescued the animals from Mitchell's burning home at at 2709 Palmgreen St. on Feb. 21.

Dog enforcement officer Ken Ferree said one of the animals, a Rottweiler named Leah, was 35-40 pounds underweight and suffering from an infected neck wound cased by a frayed, embedded cable.

He said the dog was taken to White Oak Animal Safe Haven for veterinary care.

The second dog, a pit bull mix named Lala, ran away, but later returned.

Riazzi found Mitchell guilty of failure to have a license and proper vaccinations for the Rottweiler, violations that each carry a $25 fine plus costs.

Mitchell agreed to relinquish custody of the Rottweiler to White Oak Animal Safe Haven.

She said she took in the Rottweiler as a stray because her children, particularly her 16-year-old son, wanted the dog. Mitchell said her children assured her the dogs were being cared for.

“Maybe I should have looked after my son better,” she said. “But I'm not guilty of hurting the dog.”

White Oak Animal Safe Haven president Ina Jean Marton said the Rottweiler should soon be available for adoption.

The pit bull mix was running loose approximately a block away from where the fire occurred when it was picked up by Ferree and lodged in his kennel on March 18.

Mitchell said the dog was being watched by a sitter at the time.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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