Agencies caring for 30 dogs rescued from Greene County trailer

Resident lost heat, power after storms

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Local animal control agencies are working together to care for 30 dogs rescued last week from a hoarding situation in a small Greene County trailer.

More than a dozen of the dogs were transported Wednesday to the Animal Friends shelter in Ohio Township to be put up for adoption.

The trailer had no heat or electricity because of the snowstorm and one of the residents had become ill and needed to be hospitalized, said Jane Gapen, executive director of the Humane Society of Greene County.

The Humane Society rescued more than 20 dogs six months ago from the same trailer in Rutan, about half an hour from Waynesburg, Ms. Gapen said.

"We thought we had helped them and things were going to be OK," she said.

The resident of the trailer called the Humane Society last Thursday and asked that the dogs be rescued.

The dogs were fed, but have experienced psychological damage, Ms. Gapen said. "They were living in a pack where dogs were killing each other and they're frightened," she said. "We walked into some sadness."

The dogs are various breeds, from shepherd mixes, lab mixes, pit bulls and "several small little scruffy dogs like you see in the Disney movies," she said.

The dog owners will not be charged.

"We debated it but we're not going to charge them," Ms. Gapen said. "We're happy that we have their dogs and that they turned them over to us."

The roof of the trailer has since fallen in and the residents will be moving to housing that does not allow pets, she said.

The dogs were being washed and groomed Wednesday at Animal Friends and need to be spayed or neutered, said spokeswoman Jolene Miklas.

They may be ready for adoption in several days, or longer, she said, depending on how much rehabilitation they need. Often, dogs coming from hoarding situations need to be socialized with humans before they are ready for adoption.

"Many are more comfortable in the presence of dogs than in the presence of people," Ms. Miklas said. "They need training so they can learn to live like a typical house pet."

Animal Friends, a no-kill shelter, also took in several other Greene County dogs Wednesday that were left outside on chains when their owners abandoned their homes after the snowstorm.

Because of the storm, the Greene County Humane Society is housing more dogs than ever before, Ms. Gapen said.

Anya Sostek: or 412-263-1308. First Published February 18, 2010 5:00 AM


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