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Great Danes owner charged by state police

| Friday, March 11, 2011

Three Great Dane dogs dead, nine other Great Danes so starved and without water they were close to dying, is what investigators say they found when they went to a Yockey Road, Valley Township home Tuesday.

An Armstrong County woman accused of having the dead and starving dogs has now been charged by state police.

Barbara L. Grey, 50, of 204 Yockey Road, was charged Thursday with three first-degree misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and 11 lesser misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty involving the dogs she had kept as pets.

The charges were filed with District Judge Samuel Goldstrohm.

Goldstrohm said first degree misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

He said Grey was issued a summons to appear. A preliminary hearing date has not been set but should be in about three weeks, according to Goldstrohm.

According to district court records, Grey is accused of willfully withholding food and water from three of the Great Danes knowing that it would cause them to starve to death.

Grey then stored the dead dogs in the bed of a pickup which was parked behind her residence, police said in a criminal complaint.

The complaint said Grey did not feed, water or give veterinary care to the nine surviving dogs.

A veterinary doctor that was on the scene determined that two of the dead Great Danes died months prior to the investigation and that the third dog died weeks before the discovery, according to the complaint.

The investigation began when state police went to Grey's home for a 911 hang-up call Saturday.

While there police saw a number of Great Danes in the residence. They all appeared to be in bad health, police said.

The next day police called the Humane Society.

All American Ponies, Inc. humane officer Penny Dewoehrel obtained a search warrant and found the dogs emaciated and living in feces and urine-infested conditions, according to reports.

Dewoehrel removed the dogs from the home and took them to a local veterinarian for care.

Dewoehrel said the surviving dogs will need homes. Anyone wanting to adopt the dogs or to donate to or find out more about All American Ponies, Inc. can contact the agency at http://aapi.tripod.com/ or by calling 724-399-2127.

She said some of the dogs already have been released to foster homes by the veterinarian, Robert L. Lash Veterinary Associates in East Franklin.

"The prognosis is good," said Dewoehrel. "It's not looking like any of them will have long-term problems. We caught it just in time."

She said the dogs have to be fed in small amounts, about six times a day.

"That's all their systems can handle," she said.

Dewoehrel said the dogs had been neglected and in poor condition for more than a year. She said it will take a couple of months until they are fully recovered.

Dewoehrel said she has already had more than 100 calls from people wanting the dogs.

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