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Dozens of dogs found malnourished, tied down with heavy chains

Police believe dozens of animals seized from a home in Smithfield were bred for fighting.

The Fayette County property owner told Channel 11 he knew dogs were being kept there, but didn't know they were being neglected.

One man worked from 10 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday saving those 29 dogs, most of them in poor health.

Nick Ferraro owns the South Hills Pet Rescue and works with potentially dangerous dogs.

"I didn't see any one dog that had a bowl of water or food," Ferraro said. He said the conditions were horrific with many dogs' collars embedded in their skin.

One pit bull was underweight and covered in ticks; another puppy weighed just three pounds.


Another puppy brought to a veterinarian in Uniontown died within 15 minutes of arriving.

"He was severely dehydrated, malnourished," said Michelle Soroka, a vet assistant at Camelot. "They are loving, affectionate. New things set them off, but they're not aggressive."

All of the dogs were tied down with heavy chains, and most were pit bulls that were malnourished. Some had injuries.

"They were on very short chains staked to the ground, very small dog boxes," said Nick Ferraro with South Hills Pet Rescue.


Three dogs were found dead in a makeshift pit on the property with other remains.

Four dogs were removed from the property immediately, and officials were in the process of taking the rest to a safe place Tuesday evening.

Pennsylvania State Police have not made any arrests in the case. Investigators said the Nicholson Township property, which appears to be an old farm, is rented.

All but two of the dogs are at a local shelter that specializes in dogs that have been bred to fight.

They will not be available for adoption until after the case is closed.