MUNCY - Charges will be filed against three individuals who allegedly failed to provide proper care for 12 dogs in Muncy Creek Township.
The individuals, who have yet to be named, live on Chestnut Street in the township, according to Lawrence D. Woltz, Lycoming County SPCA humane officer.
After receiving numerous reports from neighbors who were concerned about the dog's welfare, and repeatedly visiting the individuals to council them on proper pet care, members of the SPCA served a warrant to the residents on Friday afternoon.
In all, officers collected twelve dogs, including two beagles, two Labrador mixes, and one retriever collie.
According to Woltz, officers found the dogs chained to makeshift, individual outdoor shelters. Some structures allegedly only had three walls, which left the animals exposed to the elements.
The dogs allegedly had no access to clean water, food, or bedding.
Woltz described the ground around the makeshift doghouses as "a sea of frozen filth and muck." Several of the animals were suffering from illnesses.
"One dog, a retriever, had a tumor on its muzzle. Sadly, it had to be euthanized upon arrival to the shelter," Woltz said.
Other dogs were found to have injuries such as rotted gums and teeth, patched and matted fur, and long nails which made it difficult for the animals to walk, according to Woltz.
Three of the dogs were taken to an area veterinarian for a more thorough examination.
Woltz stated that he has visited the residence for several years now, including in 1994, 1997, 2004. Each time, he has counseled the residents on the proper care required for each of their dogs.
One of the residents has had their animals seized by the SPCA before, Woltz added. This person will face misdemeanor charges.
"We try to do what we can," Woltz said. "We go and visit, council families on how to take care of their pets. We try to give warnings."
People are found guilty of animal neglect or abuse may be forced to pay a fine, or spend a short stint behind bars. For some, Woltz explained, this is not enough of a wakeup call.
"Some of these people, we take their animals away and then go back a year later only to find them with a house full of pets, still living in those terrible conditions. There may be psychological illness associated with some individuals," Woltz said.