Guilty verdict for German Shepherd owner in starvation case

A Monroe County man was found guilty on ten counts of animal cruelty two months after neighbors discovered seven starving German Shepherds and the bodies of three others in an unoccupied building near Hazleton.

Calling the case "appalling" a judge on Thursday orderd the dogs' owner Pete Zervas to pay a $5,000 fine and have no conact with animals for three years.

Three of the dogs, believed to have been between 4 and 6 months old, were found dead, while the others were emaciated.

But animal welfare advocates who saw the horrible condition of the dogs after they were rescued, told reporters they were not satisfied with the sentence. Thoy said the Monroe County SPCA has spent $15,000 to bring the surviving dogs back to health and that Zervas should have been sent to jail for his actions.

Zervas, owner of the once popular and now shuttered Blue Comet Diner, said he "paid a stranger" $150 a week to care for the dogs while he took care of his sick wife.