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Charges likely after dogs abandoned in vacant home for weeks

By Tori Yorgey

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    PITTSBURGH (WTAE) — Three dogs were rescued from a home along Charles Street in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood Thursday, after police say, they were left in “horrendous” conditions for nearly three weeks.

“It was all a cry for help,” said Kori, who lives in a home across the street. “Anybody walked past, he’s out on the roof, howling, barking trying to get somebody’s attention just to get out of the house.”

Kori shared videos and pictures with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, showing one dog on the third floor roof of the home.

“After I was notified of what was going on, and witnessed it myself, I said ‘no this can’t go’ so the more calls were made and we got some action,” said Mona Strong, a member of the Knoxville Community Council. “Even if they are animals, they’re very smart, they know how to call for help.”

Pittsburgh police Officer Christine Luffey, who specializes in animal neglect and abuse cases, put a notice on the front door of the home Wednesday.

“I reached out to my supervisor (and) a decision was made that we were going to remove the dogs for their own safety and protection, and we did that,” Luffey said.

Luffey described the home as unlivable, and did not find any water for the dogs, only a bag of food that was surrounded by clutter.

“There is animal waste all over the floors, a lot of garbage, a lot of clutter, a lot of junk,” Luffey said. “We noticed on the second floor that there were animal food cans that were chewed, which was not a good sign, it’s telling us the animals were hungry.”

The dogs were taken to the Humane Animal Rescue, where they received food, water and vaccinations.

“I’m really happy that the dogs are getting some treatment and hopefully a family will adopt them and love them as much as I’ve grown to love them,” Kori said. “I am so grateful for Officer Luffey with Zone 3, she’s amazing and I thank her for doing what she did to get them out of this house today.”

Luffey gave credit to Kori, and the other residents of Charles Street who consistently called to report the animals’ situation.

“I give so much credit to the residents on Charles Street and the Knoxville community because they were not letting this go. This is unacceptable. We’re not going to tolerate animal neglect and abuse in Pittsburgh. We did the right thing today,” Luffey said.

Police say the next step is to contact the owners of the dogs, and request they surrender ownership of the animals. Once ownership is surrendered, the animals could be eligible for adoption.

Luffey believes the dogs are going to be OK and said the case remains under investigation but charges are expected to be filed.

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