Dogs Rescued from Venango County Trailer Get Second Chance

| February 22, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Many of the neglected dogs rescued from a Venango County trailer in December have found new homes.

(Photos courtesy of A.N.N.A. Shelter.)

ANNA (Association for Needy and Neglected Animals) Shelter Director Ruth Thompson told exploreVenango.com that the majority of the 51 dogs rescued from a Utica trailer have been adopted. The pregnant ones who managed to carry their litters to term are still awaiting adoption.

“Of the 51 dogs, 16 were pregnant. There were a number of those who had stillborn pups or absorbed or aborted the fetuses, but we did have 18 live births. Those puppies will go up for adoption when they are eight weeks old, so that’s coming up soon,” said Thompson.

According to Thompson, they have many applications for the puppies already and don’t expect to have any problem finding them homes.

While the rescued dogs and the resulting pups are finding second chances at life, looking back at where they came from still raises issues of concern.

The dogs were seized from a trailer in Utica on December 10, 2018, in a joint effort between the state dog warden and the Venango County Sheriff’s Department, with help from the Venango Forest County Animal Response Team and volunteers from the A.N.N.A. Shelter.

One of the individuals living at the residence, Barbara Lopez, was arrested on a bench warrant for failure to pay fines and fees on a previous animal cruelty conviction. The other resident, whose name was not released, then agreed to relinquish the 51 dogs that were being kept in the home.

The conditions at the trailer, which were described by Humane Officer Eric Duckett, of the A.N.N.A. Shelter, as “horrific,” are only part of the story.

According to Thompson, while it was one of the worst neglect cases she had ever seen, another concern is based on the fact that the owners were apparently breeding dogs to sell.

“It is definitely a big business in Pennsylvania,” Thompson said. “There are a lot of good breeders, too, but anyone breeding with that many dogs is doing it for the money, not to supply quality bred dogs.”

This kind of puppy-mill breeding can result in birth defects from inbreeding.

Additionally, it can lead some breeders to situations of hoarding and neglect, as they keep the dogs they are unable to sell and continue breeding while being incapable to care properly for so many animals.

According to Thompson, anyone in the market for a purebred dog should take steps to make sure they are not purchasing from a puppy mill.

“Do your research, talk to others who have purchased from the breeder, get vet references, ask from pictures of the parents. There are a lot of good, reputable breeders online, but you shouldn’t have trouble getting references, vet records, or pictures of where the dogs were raised. Also, anyone that breeds multiple breeds should be a bit of a concern. I would say that’s a red flag,” Thompson said.

While the dogs from the Utica rescue are finding second changes for a new and better life, the question of charges against the owners is still unresolved.

According to Venango County Sheriff’s Deputy and Humane Officer Ryan Williams, the case against the owners of the dogs has been handed over to the Venango County District Attorney’s Office.

ExploreVenango.com reached out to the Venango County District Attorney’s Office, but they were unable to comment on the case as it remains under investigation.

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