Fire at McKeesport home helps officials find abused dogs



MCKEESPORT, Pa. - A fire at a McKeesport home Thursday led to a disturbing discovery.

According to Animal Control officers, when firefighters arrived to fight the blaze at a home near the intersection of Palmgreen Avenue and Powderly Street, two dogs tied to the back porch prevented them from getting inside.

Animal Control crews were called in and found the dogs living in filth. Channel 11's Jodine Costanzo reported that one of the dogs, a Rottweiler, was 40 pounds underweight and had to undergo surgery for an injury to its neck.

The owner of the dogs is now facing animal cruelty charges. She said she didn't notice the problems and is working to regain custody of the pets.

"The dog was unhooked from a long, rigid, frayed cable,” said McKeesport animal control officer Ken Ferree. “The cable was imbedded into the dog's neck. As the dog pulled, the cable was made tighter like a noose around the dog's neck. We were able to get the cable out. This wasn't something that happened in a day or two. It happened over a couple weeks or more.”

He said the house fire may have been a blessing for the canine.

“The dog is emaciated and you can see all of its bones,” Ferree said. “The dog weighs just under 41 pounds. That's about 35 to 40 pounds underweight.”

The Rottweiler was taken to White Oak Animal Safe Haven and then for emergency surgery at White Oak Veterinary Clinic.

White Oak Animal Safe Haven president Ina Jean Marton said the shelter will take in the dog and provide care.

“It's going to cost us a lot for the vet,” she said. “It's a nice dog. It's just very scared now. We take dogs that have been in a disaster and do whatever we can to help.”

Ferree said he understands that the family suffered a major loss with the fire, but there's another issue that needs to be addressed of why the dog was emaciated and injured.

The home suffered major damage in the blaze. No injuries were reported. So far, there's no word on what sparked the fire.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.