DONORA, Pa. (KDKA) – More than 200 animals were seized from Washington and Westmoreland counties in what the Humane Society is calling a “large-scale” case of alleged neglect.
WATCH: KDKA’s Kym Gable reports live from Donora about the case.
The Humane Society says local authorities served search and seize warrants on a home and an abandoned church around 7:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. The initial estimate was that around 150 animals were rescued.
Upwards of 200 cats, kittens, dogs and chickens were found in Donora and Monessen. One by one, they were carried out in crates from a home in Donora and an abandoned church next door. Even more were recovered from a home in Monessen.
WATCH: The Humane Society provides an update on the animals that were rescued.
The Humane Society says the animals appear to lack veterinary care and were living in filth.
“The conditions are truly filthy, really horrific conditions that we’re seeing right now,” said Kristen Tullo with the Humane Society of the United States.
Many of the cats were in the church, which animal rescue workers described as dilapidated. The cats were in crates that were allegedly overflowing with feces and rescuers couldn’t see any food or water.
“When we executed the warrant, we found deplorable conditions inside — very strong odor of ammonia and feces,” said Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone. “We’ve located upwards of 150 cats, dogs and other animals.”READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Reports 5,766 New Cases, 113 More Deaths
The animals were transported to a shelter. Its location wasn’t disclosed.
The situation was so bad, the Washington Area Humane Society had to call in the Humane Society of the U.S. to help. The national organization’s resources were needed to pull off the rescue.
The district attorney’s office and state police also assisted.
Authorities arrested Christie Harr, though that arrest was based on a 2018 case of alleged animal cruelty.
District Attorney Gene Vittone says it’s possible more charges will be filed after Wednesday’s discoveries
Two neighbors told KDKA that Harr considered her home a “sanctuary for animals” and that she tried to adopt them out.MORE NEWS: FBI Investigates Slew Of Threats At Pittsburgh-Area School Districts
She was released on bond.