ANNA Shelter rescues dozens of animals from elderly resident suffering from mental illness

Local News

Dozens of dogs and cats have been rescued by the staff of Erie’s ANNA Shelter.

The animals were left uncared for by an elderly resident suffering from a mental illness.

“They’ve been in cages. One was loose in the house. The rest of the dogs were in small cages. The dogs themselves were covered in feces,” said Ruth Thompson, Director of the ANNA Shelter.

ANNA Shelter Director Ruth Thompson said that her team received a call from the owner described as a woman in her 80’s with a mental illness.

“We actually visited her in the hospital and she gave us permission to go into her house and check on the dogs for her and when we go there it was a lot worse than she has let us to believe,” said Thompson.

Thompson said that he woman is being treated at UPMC Hamot for her mental and physical health. The woman will not be charged for neglecting 17 dogs and six cats.

Thompson said that this situation is a sign of mental illness.

“And I think that it’s something that need to be sensitive to in our community. As much as I want the animals to be safe and taken care of, I want her to be taken care of as well,” said Thompson.

The ANNA Shelter is hoping for the animals to be safe in a forever home.

“They’re just wonderful dogs. So I hope everybody gets a good home which I know they will,” said Montana Tornatore, Worker at the ANNA Shelter.

Many of the workers, including Thompson, said that these cases are not uncommon. They stress the importance of checking in with your neighbors if you see odd behavior.

“Like look into that you know. See if they have family. The county does have great resources available, call us. I love animals, but I love people too,” said Thompson.

For now these furry friends are all cleaned up and waiting for a home.

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