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Emaciated dogs found in abandoned trailer

| Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 9:24 p.m.

PLAINS TWP. ­— The scrawny dogs peered warily, silently, from their kennels, still adjusting to their new surroundings.

The dogs — 12 of them — are staying at the Luzerne County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals since being rescued from an unspeakably filthy abandoned residence in Kingston Township.

“They're looking a lot better than they did when they came in on Friday,” SPCA public relations director Peggy Nork said Thursday as she surveyed the dogs.

“People need to be responsible pet owners,” she said. “If they can't be responsible, they shouldn't have pets.”

The stomach-turning situation unfolded last Friday at Echo Valley Estates mobile home park on Harris Hill Road. A neighbor noticed venetian blinds in the double-wide trailer next door were broken and disheveled, so, knowing dogs were in there, called police, Kingston Township police Sgt. Michael Moravec said.

Police called in other officials including code enforcement, Trucksville Fire Department and the SPCA.

After donning protective suits and airpacks, “They made entry and found a nightmare,” Moravec said.

The dogs — different breeds, but mostly terriers and pugs, according to Nork — were living in unbelievable squalor.

“Words just cannot describe the smell of the feces and decomposition,” Moravec said. “We were 30, 40 feet away from the front door, and they (rescuers) would open it, and you would know it. You would know it because it almost knocked you over.”

Police estimate there were between 11 and 14 dead dogs in the double-wide. A few were so badly decomposed, their breeds couldn't be identified, Moravec said.

The SPCA confiscated the surviving dogs and brought them to the shelter. Nork said some of the dogs required immediate veterinary attention; all of them were starved to the point of emaciation and needed care.

They're getting that now: plenty of food and water, grooming, and socialization in preparation for adoption. They'll all be spayed or neutered and given shots. One of the dogs, a little black pug, is spoken for by one of the rescuers, Nork said.

“We're going to do everything we can to get them in a good forever home,” she said of the others.

Nork said the investigation is ongoing. Moravec said charges will be filed by at least one of the agencies.

Moravec said the rent hadn't been paid on the mobile home where the dogs were found. He said there may have been a human inhabitant as late as Sept. 18. However, he noted, “The accumulation of the debris, the condition of the surviving animals — not to mention those that had died and decayed — that didn't happen in those brief two weeks.”

Although there have been cat hoarding cases in Kingston Township before, this was the first involving dogs, Moravec said. He said there could have been as many as 30 in the trailer at one point.

None of the neighbors ever called to complain about barking, dogs running loose or odor, Moravec said. It wasn't until the blinds were seen to be in disarray that authorities were called in.

“This place literally stayed off the radar until Friday night, because there had never been an issue,” he said.

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