HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Three people in Westmoreland County who are facing animal cruelty charges want their pets back.
They’re accused of leaving the animals alone for more than a week, but they say it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
Humane officers found up to 13 animals living in what they call deplorable conditions in a trailer in Hempfield Township. According to authorities, one of the animals ended up dying inside the trailer.
Josh Wyatt, Josh’s wife, Barb Wyatt, and his step-daughter, Holly Rose, face over 70 charges of animal cruelty and neglect.
Josh told KDKA’s Ross Guidotti it’s all a misunderstanding, and they are good animal parents.
“We love our animals. Matter of fact, they aren’t like animals to us, they’re like our kids,” Josh said. “There’s a big misunderstanding. We had to take an emergency leave back to Ohio.”
Josh and the other two accused were gone for roughly eight days, leaving the animals unattended, but — according to Josh — not without food and water.
“We left a 55 pound bag of dog food. It was open. They could go in and eat it, no problem,” Josh said. “We had quite a few big bowls full of water that they could get to.”
After one dog apparently got out of the house, humane officers arrived and entered the home.
According to officials, inside they found a female terrier mix that had external wounds to the back of the neck. She was flea-infested and appeared dehydrated. Inside the residence, they also found feces, urine, garbage and small-to-medium empty bowls covering the floor.
In the bathroom, there were nine puppies, alive, and a dead male miniature pinscher nearby. No water or food was present.
“We knew we were coming home to a mess because we were gone for so long, but they don’t live in feces,” Josh said.
Humane officers removed the animals. Josh claims he’s asked to see them but has heard nothing back.
“Actually, I want them back, but you know, if we don’t get them back, we’re moving back to Ohio because laws ain’t fair here,” Josh said.
Before any of the suspects move back to Ohio, they face a preliminary hearing on Feb. 2.