Animal Shelter Directors: Animal abusers only get 'slap on the wrist' for horrible acts

4 dogs recovering after being rescued among 11 that were found dead in Erie home

ERIE,Pa - Four dogs rescued from a home where 11 dog corpses were found are recovering at the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania on Monday.

The Humane Society rescued four living dogs among the 11 dead from a house at 3502 Cherry St., on Friday afternoon.

The dogs have flea infestations, ear and skin infections and are underweight.

Two of the dogs have been signed over to the Humane Society by the owner, but the custody of the other two dogs will be decided in court.

The homeowner still legally has custody over two of the dogs. All four are being held at the Humane Society for evidence. 

The owner of the home, whose name was not identified, will be charged with neglecting animals, but officers are awaiting more evidence to see if cruelty charges will be filed.

The Humane Society is also searching for a local pet groomer to help these dogs who are in need of grooming.

Directors of local animal shelters said that the punishment for animal abuse in Pennsylvania is equivalent to a slap on the wrist.

According to the Pennsylvania SPCA , animal cruelty is listed as a summary offense with a punishment of a fine of a couple hundred dollars and less then 90 days in jail.

“So people can get anything from a slap on the wrist to a very small fine and for us, for what we see, it doesn't justify the crime that is being done," said Ruth Thompson, A.N.N.A. Shelter director.

Repeat animal offenders are still able to care for pets under current Pennsylvania law.

Nicole Bawol, the executive director of the Humane Society, is urging the community to contact local lawmakers to help stiffen the sentence.

Rep. Ryan Bizzaro has proposed a bill, which has passed the house and is awaiting a state Senate vote, that would prevent convicted animal abusers from receiving their pets back.

But with no new legislation passed, both the A.N.N.A. Shelter and Humane Society do extensive background checks on every adopter to ensure every pet goes to a good home.

"What we have operating with isn't much and it takes a community to get behind things like this and to write to elected officials to try to have more laws passed because we really need to serve as a voice for these pets," Bawol said. 

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