Abandoned dog rescued with help of many

When a Mount Oliver family moved out of their rented house in the middle of the night, they left their pets behind. They locked up the house, turned the dogs loose and drove away.

One of the dogs — skinny, scruffy and scared  — wandered the streets for eight days. She returning daily to sit in the yard of her former home, gazing at the front door, neighbors told police. But she ran away from people who tried to catch her to help her.

On March 3, the dog was saved, thanks to a coalition of animal rescue organizations. The next day, rescuers triumphantly led the 31-pound dog to the stage of Biscuits Bingo, Pittsburgh police officer Christine Luffey’s annual fund-raiser for local animal shelters and rescue organizations.

The dog’s name is Biscuit. She was amazingly calm and accepting of pats and attention in a big crowd of strangers last Saturday. She left the bingo to go to a foster home provided by Paws Across Pittsburgh. She has settled in nicely, according to the foster family.

Officer Luffey is investigating the case. The landlord and neighbors are cooperating, including providing the names of the renters. She got the call in late February from neighbors who said the renters had left behind three dogs and possibly several cats. 

Officer Luffey enlisted the help of volunteers with Foster Cat Inc. and Homeless Cat Management Team. So far they have only been able to trap one cat, who is clearly feral and not a pet, said Tara Provident of Homeless Cat Management Team.

One of their volunteers, Karen Sable of Munhall, has bigger traps and has successfully trapped several lost dogs in recent years. The landlord allowed Ms. Sable, who owns and operates Pet Emergency Training, to put her food-filled trap inside the enclosed porch of the house.

Ms. Sable spent hours in her car, waiting for the dog to come to the trap. She left when neighbors said they would take up the watch duties. At 10 p.m. March 3, they called Ms. Sable to say the dog was in the trap. Because the porch was enclosed and heated, they left the dog there until the next day when they took her to Biscuits Bingo.

“We didn’t know what we had. We didn’t know if she would be nice or be mean. She growled at first, but that is normal,” Ms. Sable said. “Then she was shaking, clearly scared. I sat with her a while to calm her down.” 

A veterinary checkup earlier this week indicated Biscuit is 2 or 3 years old and in relatively good health but underweight. Her body weight score is 3 out of 10. 

The renters also abandoned a black pit bull and a Chihuahua. A day or two after the family moved out, the black dog was found about two blocks away by a family who has decided to adopt it. That dog weighs 31 pounds and is about 15 pounds underweight, a veterinarian said.

Neighbors and rescuers are still hoping to find the Chihuahua and cats. People with information are asked to call Officer Luffey at 412-488-8425.