SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — State police have opened up an animal cruelty investigation after nearly 30 dogs, some of them dead, were found living in deplorable conditions on a farm in Fayette County.
Veterinarian Dr. William Sheperd says one of the rescued puppies brought to him for treatment is malnourished. Her brother, though, was worse off and died after arriving at the vet.
“She was just brought to me sick, with her brother,” Dr. Sheperd, of Camelot Veterinary Services, said.
Those are just two of 29 dogs that police say they discovered on what appears to be an abandoned farm near Smithfield. Authorities stumbled upon it while investigating something else.
“Troopers were following up on an investigation of stolen ATVs, a rash of burglaries, a rash of thefts in the area,” said Trooper Robert Broadwater, of Pennsylvania State Police. “They came across this road that looked like an ATV path, traveled up there and that’s when they found the dogs.”
Older dog was also rescued from the farm.
Police say many of the dogs were malnourished and living in deplorable conditions in various structures. Many, if not all, are pit bulls.
“The dogs were chained with heavy chain. They had either a plastic house or shelter, or homemade wooden shelters,” said Trooper Broadwater. “There was also a pit, a makeshift pit, that was located and we confirmed three deceased dogs in that pit.”
He also said there seemed to be a homemade medical facility in the basement for treating dogs.
“You shouldn’t neglect an animal. Dogs are your friend, right?” Trooper Broadwater said. “And you shouldn’t just leave them out in a remote area, no food, no water.”
While the dogs have now been rescued, it’ll take a while before they’re healthy.
“With this on, knock on wood, so far, I think we’re going to be able to turn her around, and, God willing, she’ll be okay,” Dr. Sheperd said of the little puppy.
No charges have been filed at this point.
Police have found the owner of the farm, but he was leasing the property to someone else, and, so far, they’ve not been able to find that person.