Pet Tales: Starved, abandoned pit bull ready for a real home

Four dogs died in their crates, locked up inside a house of horrors. One survived. The five dogs had been given no food or water for nearly a month.

The stench of decomposing bodies brought police to the Beechview home on May 22. When they found Roscoe in the basement, he wagged his tail and was affectionate with everyone who stepped up to help him. They took him to the Animal Rescue League shelter in Larimer, where staff said he was sweet and very interested in his surroundings.  

Roscoe weighed only 40 pounds, although he should weigh 60-80 pounds. He had “no appreciable body fat,”according to his shelter entry report. His ribs, backbone and hips jutted out, and “even his head looked skinny,” said adoption manager Joe Tedesco. Severely malnourished dogs sometimes die because their kidneys and other major organs shut down.

Roscoe has gained 8 pounds at the shelter. Although he needs to put on more weight, he is in good health and can eat normally. He is mostly black with some white markings, and shelter staff think he is about 3 years old. He looks like a Labrador retriever/pit bull mix.  

On Wednesday, he was triumphantly transferred to the adoption floor, where his friends and fans hope he will catch the eye of someone who will adopt him.

“After all this dog has been put through, he loves to give kisses and likes to jump up and give people hugs,” Mr. Tedesco said.

Roscoe likes other dogs and gets along well with them. He wasn’t in a crate and wasn’t with the dogs who died. He was in the basement, “and we think he must have been drinking toilet water,” said Dan Rossi, executive director at Animal Rescue League.

Perhaps he was able to find and eat garbage. Roscoe did not eat the other dogs, said Mr. Rossi, who has heard that rumor circulating on social media.

Roscoe has been on television news and on social media. Shelters usually get dozens of phone calls from people who want to adopt high-profile abused dogs. That hasn’t happened yet for Roscoe. But everyone can see him on the Facebook pages of Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center and Justice for Beechview Dogs.

Here’s the backstory:

In February, Taura Krill-McCormick, 25, abandoned her house in the 200 block of Sebring Avenue because she had fallen behind on her mortgage payments and was told she would lose the house. She told police she went back every day to feed the dogs — until April 26, when she stopped. On May 22, police found Roscoe and the decomposing bodies of the other four dogs.

Ms. Krill-McCormick is charged with five counts of animal cruelty and one count of harboring a nuisance. She was released on $10,000 bail. A June 2 hearing was postponed until 12:30 p.m July 30 in Pittsburgh City Court.

For more information about Roscoe, go to or call 412-345-7300.

Waterfront walk

See former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch with his wife, Latasha, and some of their dogs when he leads the sixth annual Panera Pup Walk June 14 at the Waterfront shopping center in Homestead.

Bring your family, friends and dogs to benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Registration starts at 9 a.m. in front of Panera Bread, and the walk starts at 10 a.m. near the base of the Homestead Grays Bridge.  

Humans walk for free, but registration is $25 per dog at, where you can register in advance. It’s $35 the day of the event.

The first 500 dogs registered get goodie bags, and top fundraisers win prizes. 

Remembrance service

Pets that have died will be memorialized at a remembrance service at 2 p.m. June 14 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2040 Washington Road (Route 19), Upper St. Clair (15241).

All family members, including pets, are invited.

This is just one of the programs offered by the church’s Pet Ministry, which is also doing a free Pet Adoption and Care Fair on from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 20. That will be co-sponsored by Christ United Methodist Church. Look for details next week in Pet Tales.  

Fun with birds

Watch penguins paint pictures, get private photo sessions with raptors and take your dad to a Father’s Day brunch at the National Aviary, 700 Arch St., North Side (15212).

African penguins are painting pictures at 3 p.m. on June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9. Pick the paint colors, watch them paint with their feet and get an 11- by 14-inch canvas. Cost is $40 for Aviary members, $55 for nonmembers. That fee includes general admission to the aviary. Call 412-258-9445 to register.

On June 20, stop by the aviary before it opens to the public “when our birds are especially active,” according to the news release. Get unique photo opportunities with birds of prey. Cost is $50, which does not include general admission. Call 412-258-9439 to register. Space is limited.

Seatings for the June 21 Father’s Day brunch are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. under the rose garden tent. Aviary birds will visit the guests. Food is by chef Josef Karst of Atria’s catering. Cost is $35 for adult nonmembers and $17.50 for their children; $30 for adult members and $15 for their children; kids 3 and younger get in for free. Pre-registration is required by calling 412-258-9445.

Cat adoption specials

It usually costs $65 to adopt an adult cat at the Beaver County Humane Society. But June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month, so adopters can name their own fee for cats older than 6 months. 

All of the cats are spayed or neutered, microchipped and tested for FELV/FIV.

You can adopt a cat from the shelter, 3394 Brodhead Road, Center (15001), or from three PetSmart stores in Center, Cranberry or Newcastle or from the Petco in Cranberry.

Go to for further information.

Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Magazine section. Contact Linda Wilson Fuoco on her Facebook page, or 412-263-3064.