Emaciated dogs found buried in trash in N. Phila. yard and more Dawg docket

We don't know if they found their man (or woman), but police officers serving a warrant at a North Philadelphia home today found two starving dogs buried under several feet of trash in the backyard.

Now the occupants of the house are likely facing animal cruelty charges after officers with the Pennsylvania SPCA pulled the dogs from the trash pile and removed a cat from inside the house.

The most recent case of cruelty comes one week after PSPCA officers discovered a dead puppy wrapped in duct tape in a lot next to a Catholic school in Kensington. A $1,000 reward is being offered in that case.

Catching up on the Dawg docket elsewhere,  . In New Jersey officers seized four giant tortoises from a home in Monmouth County. The Aldabra tortoises, weighing as much as 500 pounds, are the second largest tortoises behind the famed Galapagos tortoises. Neighbors began feeding them, officials said, after hearing what appeared to be "crying" sounds. Story and video here.

New Jersey SPCA officials found a grisly sight in Salem County recently, the bodies of 15 to 20 dead cats wrapped in baggies in a freezer - along with five live cats - in a house in Upper Pittsgrove. KYW reports that the occupant, Ian Barlow, wrote bizarre rants about dying cats on his Facebook page and solicited money to care for them through PayPal.

The NJSPCA said they were alerted to the house and possible animal cruelty through what it called "disturbing" postings on Barlow's Facebook page earlier this month. The NJSPCA said it will pursue cruelty charges against the owner of the property. The five cats, all of whom have "serious medical issues" were removed and are being treated. Numerous additional cats remained on the property.

In Franklin County, Pa., west of Harrisburg, a humane officer removed 40 dirty and matted dogs, including 12 puppies - primarily Japanese chin and chin mixes from a filthy house. 

Humane officer Floyd Hessler said the couple involved would not be charged with cruelty since they relinquished the dogs in a situation he referred to as "helping them downsize."

But will they be charged with operating an unlicensed kennel? Anyone possessing more than 26 dogs must have a kennel license. Also a report in the Public Opinion of Chambersburg said the couple could keep four dogs if they got them medical care and vaccinations, which suggests none of the dogs had rabies shots - also a citable offense.

Several questions remain: Was this a puppy mill or a hoarding situation or both?

It was the second large removal of animals in this largely rural county in a week, placing heavy burdens on the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. The shelter, based in Chambersburg, has responded to an usually high number of cruelty cases in recent months. Just one week earlier a humane officer removed 39 cats from a house. 






(Photo: Patty Supone/Star-Ledger)