First of more than 100 dogs rescued from North Hills hoarder gets new home |

First of more than 100 dogs rescued from North Hills hoarder gets new home

Natasha Lindstrom
Courtesy of Animal Friends
A dog named Coconut was among the first to go home with a new family Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 after he and 116 other dogs were found crammed into a Ross Township home in ‘deplorable’ conditions, according to Animal Friends, the nonprofit organization that rescued and is adopting out the animals over the next several weeks and months.
Natalie Miller | Tribune-Review
Dr. Jonna Swanson, a veterinarian at Animal Friends, inspects Cricket, a female dog rescued from a home in Ross., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.
Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
Ross Township building inspector Howard Boyd posts a sign Sept. 13, 2019 warning people not to enter a property along Ridgeside Road where more than 100 dogs that were being hoarded were rescued by humane officers.
Tony LaRussa | Tribune-Review
Neighbors of a home on Ridgeway Road in Ross Township where more than 100 dogs were rescued on Sept. 12, 2019 said junk piled up in the front yard led them to believe that the woman living there was a “hoarder.” But they had no idea that so many animals were living in the modestly sized home.
Rescuers work to remove dozens of dogs from a home in Ross Township on Wendesday, Sept. 11, 2019.
Natalie Miller | Tribune-Review
A female dog and her litter are receiving care at the Animal Friends facility in Ohio Township on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. The dogs were rescued from a home in Ross Township.
Natalie Miller | Tribune-Review
Nearly 120 dogs were brough to Animal Friends from a home in Ross Township. The animals were in the process of being checked out by veterinarians and staff on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.

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.

RELATED: More than 100 hoarded dogs rescued from Ross home

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

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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