Glassport deems Marie Street house uninhabitable
Authorities in Glassport have declared a house along Marie Street uninhabitable because of animal waste and other debris piling up in and around the property.
Anthony Territo, 40, of Glassport is facing 10 counts of cruelty to animals and other charges because of filthy conditions and neglected animals at the Marie Street home.
The house was declared uninhabitable on Sunday when authorities investigated complaints about a dog from the property running loose. When they arrived they found deplorable conditions.
Three dogs were recovered from the home by Glassport animal control officer Ken Ferree. Two rabbits were found without food in a cage on a back porch and a dead lizard was found in a fish tank inside the home.
The rabbits, which were slated for removal by authorities, were apparently taken from their cage while the property was temporarily unattended.
Glassport code enforcement officer Cindi Passarell said she had posted the property uninhabitable and went to her office to find someone to take the rabbits. When she returned, she said, the signs she had posted were torn down and the rabbits were missing.
Passarell said the house was one of the worst she has seen. She described the condition of the animals as “sad” and said it's unfortunate someone took the rabbits before she could find an agency to take them.
“The rabbit rescuers would have given them a good home,” said Passarell.
There are several broken windows and doors around the house, which is emanating a powerful odor of animal waste. The waste is drawing flies and insects and is scattered throughout the house. The house is littered with broken furniture and beer bottles, according to authorities.
A police report said the dogs may have been eating furniture due to a lack of food.
“The house is absolutely destroyed,” said Passarell, noting the floors are soaked with feces and urine.
Sandy Wampler, who lives two houses away, said there have been animal problems at the property for several years. Four years ago, she said, a dog broke loose and bit her own pet dog while it was still a puppy.
“There's nobody even staying at the house,” said Wampler, noting the dogs' owner would only visit sporadically to deliver pet food then leave. Wampler said one of the dogs had escaped several times within the last week.
Territo, who could not be reached for comment, was not present when the house was declared uninhabitable. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Ferree said the dogs, which he described as a pit bull and pit bull mixes, have mostly slept since he took them to his kennel. He said the unusual amount of sleep may be the result of the animals being removed from a stressed environment.
He described the dogs' behavior as anti-social but said they were not underfed, emaciated or losing hair, which are traits commonly associated with neglected animals.
Ferree said Territo contacted his office about reclaiming the dogs on Friday. Ferree said Territo has a legal right to reclaim his property though he will have to pay fines and fees to recover the dogs. Depending on how the case progresses in court, Ferree said Territo may still have to relinquish his right to own the dogs.
Ferree said cases of severe animal neglect have become all too common.
“It's beyond my belief that this had gone on so long,” said Ferree, noting the property was in an area of relatively well-kept homes. “This is months and months and months of neglect.”
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.