Police remove seven dying dogs, three dead puppies from garage

Police near Hazleton, responding to a call about abandoned dogs today, found a horrific scene in a dark garage with dead and dying German Shepherds, including puppies, lying in filth. 

"There's probably two feet of feces, afterbirth matter. It is a dungeon, it's horrible," said Jeannie Lee, the spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Society of Monroe (AWSOM), told WBRE-TV.

A neighbor in the town of Swiftwater discovered the abandoned dogs and reported it to police.

When police arrived today they found three dead puppies and seven starving adult dogs. They were transported to veterinary hospitals in very poor condition, rescuers said.

A vet estimated the dogs went for a month without food.

"There is no muscle left. Their body has metabolized or eaten its own muscle in order to stay alive," said veterinarian Sammie Thompson.

State police are investigating the deaths. Whether charges will be filed has yet to be determined, according to the Pocono Record.

The dogs were owned by Pantellis "Pete" Zervas, a restaurant operator, police said. He told WBRE he paid a man to take care of the animals because his wife has lung disease and he works long hours at his restaurant, the Blue Comet diner in Hazleton.

AWSOM is seeking contributions to cover the dogs' medical care. Call 570-421-DOGS or visit their website at www.awsomanimals.org.