UNITY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A total of 78 dogs living on just one acre of land next to homes has neighbors fed up and the owner of the rescue operation is asking for help.
Now, the state is stepping in and in 10 days, more than 50 of the dogs may have to be put down if they’re not adopted.
This issue started in Unity Township and made its way to the State Supreme Court.
Looking at the faces and wagging tails of the 78 abandoned dogs, Jeannie Keller said she’s fighting to keep the animals alive.
“We’ve been through so many court systems and nobody cares and people these days look at everything as disposable. If it gets in the way, throw it away. Well, these are living, breathing creatures. You can’t do that,” Keller said.
Keller’s battle began in June of 2010.
She has been a licensed Rottweiler breeder for 31 years in Westmoreland County. She started to take in unwanted dogs and when she exceeded Unity Township’s 12 dog maximum, Keller applied to be a rescue kennel.
“I’m fighting for their rights because they’re voiceless. They can’t tell you what they want. They just know that they’re safe here,” Keller said.
From 2007-10, the township said inspections showed she increased her number of dogs from 12 to 70.
Neighbors, who were once friends, became increasingly frustrated.
They say an odorous smell and continuous barking has worn their patience thin and severed relationships.
Marlene Snyder said she loves dogs and even has one of her own, but with the life dogs are leading, they may as well be put down.
“They’re just cooped up in there and I hear them at night time during the cold, rain and storm. They’re crying over there. They wake me up in the middle of the night,” Snyder said.
Keller doesn’t see it that way.
“I would die for them,” Keller said.
She’s appealed the township’s rulings and even took on the State Supreme Court, who on Wednesday denied her final request to hear her appeal to keep the animals.
Now, she must surrender all but 25 of the dogs.
“I am a dog lover and I share Jeannie’s compassion, I do. I just really feel bad for the dogs because she doesn’t have enough room there to care for the dogs the way they need to be cared for,” Deb Riggins, a neighbor, said.
For more information on how you can adopt the dogs call (724)-217-5800 or e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org