First of more than 100 dogs rescued from North Hills hoarder gets new home
Three weeks ago, Coconut was living in filth.
The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed border collie was among 117 dogs stuck inside a Ross house in which the smell of urine, feces and ammonia was so strong that fire and animal rescue officials couldn’t enter it without wearing breathing masks.
Many of the dogs — mostly border collie and Australian shepherd mixes usually trained as working dogs — were underweight and covered in fleas and bite wounds. They included 16 puppies between ages 3 days and 5 weeks old.
Some were emaciated and in need of immediate medical attention.
Two of the dogs died.
On Friday morning, Coconut went home with a new family eager to give him a happy home.
He was among the first few of the “Ross Rescue Dogs” to be adopted out by Animal Friends, the nonprofit organization sheltering the dogs in Ohio Township.
The woman who lived at the home, who was not identified, chose to surrender the dogs to Animal Friends, the organization said. She had been charged in a 2008 animal rescue situation as a result of hoarding pets.
Hundreds of adoption applications received
By Thursday night, Animal Friends stopped accepting applications after hearing from more than 700 households interested in adopting one of the rescued dogs.
“Thank you again for the outpouring of support from our community,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “We are so grateful and humbled. And, we can truly say in the short amount of time these dogs have been with us, they’ve already experienced more love than they have ever received in their entire lives.”
The dogs will be made available for adoption as the organization deems them ready. Dog Stop Pittsburgh North has helped provide more space for the dogs.
None had been spayed nor neutered, so the organization is performing surgeries as well as administering vaccinations.
The organization is warning potential owners to be ready to have patience and be prepared to keep them active and stimulated.
“The conditions they lived in were deplorable and no training was provided to them – even in regard to housebreaking,” Animal Friends said.
The recovering dogs still are learning to wear collars and leashes and “have no concept of only going to the bathroom outdoors.”
“Because of the sheer number of dogs from the rescue, readying them for loving homes is going to take time,” the organization said. “They will be available on a rolling basis which could takes weeks, and even up to months.”
To make a donation to support the rescue and care of these dogs or for updates about their progress, go to www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .