ARNOLD (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County couple is facing animal cruelty charges after police say they put six kittens in a box and left them to die in extremely hot temperatures.
According to court records, a gruesome discovery made inside a dumpster in Arnold lead to the charges against 33-year-old Robert Conley and former girlfriend, 23-year-old Jessie Ann Fanto.
Six kittens, all dead, were found in a cardboard box.
Conley and Fanto are accused of putting the animals in the box, then leaving them on their apartment balcony covered with clothes to avoid building management from discovering the animals. It happened on Sept. 27, which was a 91 degree day.
“I would never, ever, ever do anything to hurt any animal,” Fanto says.
Fanto, who no longer lives in the apartment, spoke to KDKA’s Ross Guidotti over the phone. She said she had no idea Conley put the animals in the box.
“I was sleeping when he did it,” she says.
She says when she woke up and asked Conley where the cats were, his answer stunned her.
“’I have some sad news.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He said the cats are gone. I thought they were like my kids. So, like, I loved them to death.”
A maintenance worker made the discovery and called Arnold Police.
Fanto says while she is charged in the case, the blame lies with Conley, who is in the Allegheny County Jail charged with assaulting Fanto in a separate incident.
“Those are my cats. I wanted to take them to a friend’s house and let her watch them where they could be safe,” Fanto said. “He wanted to do what he wanted to do.”
Fanto and Conley face six counts of animal cruelty. But Fanto tells KDKA that she’s fighting the charges.