A response to a report of barking dogs Friday night evolved into packs of dogs being removed from an area home.
The home, located in the 300 block of Belmont Street in Waymart, was responded to after neighbors reported barking dogs to the Waymart Police Department.
"We were contacted by the Waymart Police Department to assist on a call about barking dogs," said Pennsylvania Humane Society Officer Marlene Metzger on Monday.
What officers found was more than just a dog or two barking.
"We removed over 50 dogs" from the property she said. "At least 10 were deceased puppies," adding that even today they are tallying the rescued dogs for a final count.
Metzger said the dogs that were removed, which range in age from puppy to adult, "are definitely a mixed breed. Probably a hound-terrier mix."
As of Monday afternoon, five of the animals have been transported to a the Luzerne County Humane Society, and six others are slated to head to a shelter in York, Penn.
Metzger said that the dogs that were rescued all have a skin condition of varying degrees.
"We're taking them to the vet to get treatment," she said.
Veteran volunteer for the shelter Kristen Anderson said she got the call to respond Friday night.
"I got a call around 11 p.m. to head out," she said. "We were busy until very early in the morning on Saturday" getting the dogs settled and transported.
Anderson said the animals were "in an outside building that had a detached garage."
Metzger said that the dogs are in dire need of being socialized.
"They are not used to human contact" outside of their owner, whose name has not been released.
She said that "these dogs have never had a collar or a leash on them" and, that when one is attached, the dogs become agitated.
"We are almost dealing with a puppy mill mentality. The fittest ate first. Some of the dogs are quite thin, others are at a good weight."
A major issue with the dogs is the fact that they have not been socialized properly.
Page 2 of 3 - "This is a very, very slow learning process," Metzger said.
The disposition of the dogs can be "very sweet," with some allowing themselves to be petted. On the flip side, others become frightened.
As for the pending case against the Waymart resident, Metzger said that "mega-charges are pending" in this case that could include running an illegal kennel and "a slew of animal cruelty charges."
Metzger anticipates these charges to be filed in the coming days.
How to help
While monetary donations, and those of items, are always welcomed at the shelter, foster parents are also needed.
"These dogs need fostering and socializing," Metzger stressed. "If anyone has the space and the time," it would be appreciated.
Persons interested in becoming a foster home for an animal in need can contact the Dessin Animal Shelter at 1-570-253-4037 to find out how.
Forking Amazing Fundraiser
In addition to foster parents, the shelter has also joined forces with the What the Fork Truck to help raise funds for the displaced pooches.
Mario Bevilacqua, entrepreneur, co-owner, and executive chef of the What the Fork Truck, contacted executive director of the Olga and Dorothea Dessin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dara Coslett Granza, after news of the incident spread.
In a release, Coslett Granza said, "I was beyond touched by his generosity.
Mario, and his co-owner, fiancé, Katie Graziosi, have donated to Dessin, in the past, in cooperation with Chef Michael's dog food. And he took the time, on a Sunday, to check in with us and immediately started talking about hosting a fundraiser to aid in the care of the recovered animals – and all our animals at Dessin."
The goal of the fundraiser is to raise funds for the shelter by donating a portion of the day's sales to the nonprofit. The truck will also be collecting sorely needed shelter supplies, including bleach, paper towels, dog food and rawhide. Bevilacqua will also be donating 500 pounds of dog food to the shelter.
The Forking Amazing Fundraiser will be held in the parking lot of the Viewmont Mall, off of Viewmont Drive, Dickson City, on Sunday, September 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For the hungry canine in your life, a limited edition Chef Michael's dog food dispenser will be available.
Page 3 of 3 - Coslett Granza also said that "The addition of 50-plus dogs to our shelter, when we were already at capacity, is a huge drain on our resources, manpower, food and supplies. These dogs appear malnourished. They are very thin and have a lot of hair loss. Some have overgrown nails through their foot pads and others are blind. Cases like these not only take a toll on the psyche of our over-extended staff. They cost the shelter a great deal of money. These animals will need vet care, to be spayed and neutered, housed and nursed back to health," said Coslett Granza.
Questions about the "Forking Amazing Fundraiser" can be directed to (570) 647-0620. If you are unable to attend and would like to securely donate online, via PayPal, visit the "Donate" page at www.DessinShelter.com or stop by the shelter at 138 Miller Dr., Honesdale, during business hours. What the Fork Truck's daily menu is posted on their facebook page at www.facebook.cm/WTForktruck.