One woman is in custody after Venango Police stepped in and took action. Investigators say the woman was holding 51 dogs, 19 of them pregnant, inside a single-wide trailer.
All 51 dogs have been taken from the chaotic environment and put them into a safe space for the time being.
Owner of the ANNA Shelter, Ruth Thompson, says, “probably, in the 15 years I’ve been doing this, the worst situation I’ve literally been inside of. ”
We have some shots of the scene Thompson discovered at the trailer in Venango County. Thompson was called by authorities about the situation. She tells us, “they thought they had about 25 dogs that needed to be removed, but we ended up bringing in 51 dogs.”
Once the crews moved in to take the dogs away, it was obvious these animals were living in horrific conditions.
Thompson says, “a lot of the dogs were being kept in small enclosures like bird cages, so a lot of them don’t have muscle development; they really can’t stand up. They were over-crowded in boxes and areas just for breeding.”
Emily Danskin says, “they need to be able to get out to become socialized, to get use to other people, to stay in good condition.”
Police have made one arrest, Barbara Lopez. She was arrested on a bench warrant for failing to pay fines and fees on a previous animal cruelty case.
Thompson tells us, “This happened at the same facility nine years ago. 72 dogs were removed from the same people, so this is now their second time running this operation.”
Thompson says she believes this is a breeding operation. These operations stage the animals to look like they’re coming from a legitimate breeder in photos, but the grim reality is that sometimes, things aren’t always as perfect as they seem online.
But, there are ways you can prevent this from happening. Thompson recommends, “ask to see the parents. Ask to be somewhat more involved because pictures, anyone can stage.”
Now, out of the 51 dogs, 19 of them are pregnant. They have been taken to an off-site rehabilitation center. The Anna Shelter team will be working with the dogs there and hope to have some of them up for adoption next week.