200 animals rescued from Pennsylvania home

More than 170 dogs and 27 other animals were rescued from an eastern Pennsylvania home by the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

PSPCA's Animal Law Enforcement team on Friday was called to the home in Effort, about 38 miles north of Allentown, Penn., by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law after an individual in the home died. Coroner's office responders found a large number of dogs at the property and were concerned with the unsanitary living conditions and sheer number of animals.

The other animals found in the Monroe County home included two chickens, two peacocks, 12 cats, two guinea pigs, a dove, three finches, a parakeet and four rabbits.

Monroe County Coroner Thomas Yanac said he arrived after paramedics to find a male who had died of natural causes in the front porch area.

"The spouse was reluctant to let anybody in the house to do our investigation, but once she did ... that's when we found all the dogs. It was really just overwhelming with so many dogs, and the woman needed help. It seemed that she truly was just trying to help these dogs in her mind, but it got away from her and she was overwhelmed."

The number first reported was 70 dogs, but once the PSPCA's officers entered the home they located more than 170 dogs, mostly Jack Russell terrier-mix types, including adults and puppies. There were so many animals, a second trip to the home was made Saturday.

"This was not a puppy mill or breeder situation," PSPCA Director Gillian Kocher said. "This was more is a situation where things got out of hand when animals were not altered. We rescued these animals over the course of two days. We began on Friday, but due to the large number of animals, continued on Saturday."

Kocher said the majority of the animals were loose in the house, though there were some animals in carriers and crates.

"The animals were removed not only due to the sheer number, but because of the living conditions and the lack of veterinary care," Kocher said.

AllĀ of the animals were surrendered to the PSPCA and transported to its sites in Lancaster, Philadelphia and Chester counties, where they were to undergo forensic examinations to identify any potential for cruelty or neglect charges. After that they will be made available for adoption.

"While no harm may have been intended in this case, the owners of the animals rescued were clearly overwhelmed," said Julie Klim, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA. "Though the circumstances of this rescue were tragic in nature, we are grateful that these animals were safely removed from their poor living conditions."