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July 17, 2013

New humane officer rescues 22 dogs from house

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County’s new humane officer was put to the test Monday when she facilitated the rescue of 22 dogs.

Stacey L. Wiley of Ellwood City, named last month to the position under the direction of District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, met her first big challenge this week. She was called to a house in the 400 block of Croton Avenue, where a woman allegedly was harboring the neglected canines.

Wiley received information about a week ago that a lot of dogs had been left inside a house, Lamancusa said. The owner was in the hospital, having suffered a dog bite that had become infected, he explained.

“Stacey went to respond and found a disaster,” Lamancusa said. There were 18 adult dogs and four newborn puppies that didn’t even have their eyes open yet.

“The woman had been unable to care for them and there were feces, debris and urine all over the house,” Lamancusa said.

Only two of the canines had their shots. None had licenses.

New Castle’s code enforcement department was summoned and has since condemned the house.

Wiley had to determine whether any of the dogs were healthy and which ones needed medical treatment, Lamancusa continued.

Three of the dogs had to be euthanized.

Wiley was able to place eight with Forever Faithful Rescue of Petersburg, Ohio, which she was told is getting them veterinary care and trying to find homes for them.

The other 11 were turned over to a private kennel in Lawrence County. The owner, who is being a good Samaritan and wishes to remain anonymous, is trying to adopt them out, Lamancusa said.

They are mixed breed of beagle, Labrador retriever and golden retriever, Wiley said, adding “I think these dogs have the potential to make good pets.”

Some are smaller and it’s hard to tell whether they are puppies or just smaller dogs, she said.

When Wiley and other animal agents arrived at the house Monday, they herded all the dogs into a backyard kennel and gave them food, water and a treatment for a flea infestation.

“The main thing was getting them out of the house,” she said.

Wiley was assisted by various people, including detectives from the district attorney’s office and Shawn King, state police humane officer.

“He provided a huge amount of help in all this,” Wiley said.

Lamancusa noted that as the agents tried to get into the house, “all of the dogs inside were trying to get out.”

Anyone who is interested in adopting one of the rescued pooches may contact Wiley at (724) 654-7161.

“At this time, we are working on getting them veterinary care,” she said.

Whether or not charges will be filed against the dog owner remains under investigation, Lamancusa said. He added the woman will have to find another place to live.

Lamancusa urges anyone who knows of any incidences of mistreatment of animals to contact his office’s animal abuse hotline at (800) 870-8081.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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