BELLE VERNON (KDKA) — State police and humane officials raided a home in Fayette County, seizing several dogs and other malnourished animals from the property.
Investigators served a warrant at the Main Street home in Belle Vernon Wednesday over animal welfare concerns and other unspecified threats.
The animals’ owner, Rachael Bonacci, is facing felony animal cruelty counts and other charges.
Investigators were first alerted to the situation when neighbors called about a dead dog. The animal was found starved and dehydrated in a cage, with no way to access food or water.
“We received a call about a dog in a cage on a back porch who was in bad shape or possibly dead,” said Trooper Robert Broadwater of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Troopers came out, came behind the residence, located a metal cage with a deceased dog inside of it.”
State police raid Belle Vernon home after owners allegedly leave a dog to starve to death in cage. Humane officers and troopers inside removing other animals pic.twitter.com/9ao5YmgQIB
— Ross Guidotti (@RossGuidotti) June 26, 2019
During the raid, officials seized several dogs, a cat and a lizard. All of them were malnourished, investigators said.
Inside the home, state police found squalor. The animals had been living in their own feces, urine and other garbage.
“To live like with animals and have animals live in those conditions with human beings, it’s a disgrace,” Broadwater said. “Just make a call. It’s all you need to do. You don’t have to let them die.”
Belle Vernon’s mayor, Gerald Jackson, was less than enthused about this situation.
“I am not a happy man,” he said. “Two months ago I got a complaint on this, we called our police, southwest regional, they did everything they could do. We called our dog catcher, the dog catcher can only do so much, only if a dog is loose. Then I called the humane officer. We have 3 or 4 formal complaints in our office so it’s somebody not doing their job.”
In addition to Bonacci, investigators say they plan to charge a man believed to be her boyfriend. He is identified as Christopher Foreman.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.