ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. - More than 100 dogs were removed Wednesday from a home in Ross Township, making it the largest rescue on record for Animal Friends, officials said.
In all, 117 dogs were taken from the home on Ridgeside Road. Twenty-five of them were puppies and the rest were middle-aged. Animal Friends said one of the puppies, who was just days old, died.
"They were everywhere. They were on the second floor. They were in the basement. They were inside furniture. Some of them were in between walls," Animal Friends Chief Operating Officer Lauren Leffakis said.
Crews needed hazmat suits to enter the home because of high ammonia levels, officials said.
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Firefighters cooled down dozens of dogs and loaded them on a box truck, which transported them to Animal Friends to receive care and get a second chance at life.
Officials said Thursday none of the dogs, most of which are Australian Shepherds and shepherd mixes, have died.
Animal Friends confirms this is their largest rescue on record here. 117 dogs. 25 were puppies. The rest were middle age. Most were Australian Shepard and Shepard mixes. None of the dogs have passed away. @WPXI pic.twitter.com/N4sEkDQBdQ— Mike Holden (@WPXIMikeHolden) September 12, 2019
The owner of the dogs will soon be hit with hundreds of animal cruelty charges, according to authorities.
Rescuers said the owner intended to help the animals, but things got out of control.
Neighbors said what's most frustrating is that this isn't the first time humane officers were at the home. They were there in 2008 removing farm animals, including roosters and goats.
"All the neighbors here will tell you they've called dozens of times. Nobody wants to do anything until it comes to something like this," Damian Miller said. "You would think that this would never have a chance to happen again. This is a public failure."
This is honestly one of the most unbelievable things I've seen in my television career. Over 100 dogs have now been taken out of this deplorable home. We've been watching them carried out with so much love and compassion, hoping for a second chance at a dog's life. @WPXI pic.twitter.com/JqmZyI6sda— Amy Hudak (@amy_hudak) September 12, 2019
Police said someone called in a complaint in June regarding the conditions of the animals. However, when they went to check out the situation, the owner wouldn't let them inside the house and only showed them a couple dogs.
An officer then reached out to Animal Friends and asked for their assistance, police said. That resulted in a full-scale investigation and Wednesday's seizure of the dogs.
Prior to the June complaint, police said the last complaint they received was in 2016.
It will take a week or two to get the dogs back on their feet, according to Animal Friends. They will then be adopted.
In less than 24 hours, Animal Friends has received more than $6,000 in donations to help the dogs. (CLICK HERE to donate.)
The state dog warden will be filing the criminal charges against the owner. The charges will include animal cruelty, kenneling an excessive number of dogs and failing to give them medical care.
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