Hoarding cited in Pa. seizure of 185 Chihuahuas
by Peter Jackson, Associated Press
July 20, 2012 03:45 PM | 615 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this photo released by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Humane Society of the United States representative Sarah Speed, left, and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Veterinarian Dr. Nan Hanshaw examine one of the nearly 200 Chihuahuas seized from a home in northeastern Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. Department spokeswoman Nichole Bucher says veterinarians who checked the 187 dogs found no serious health problems, only minor eye, teeth and skin problems. She says the two men who kept the dogs at their Columbia County home treated them as pets and identified them by name to officials who took them away. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, William R. Nichols)
In this photo released by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Humane Society of the United States representative Sarah Speed, left, and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Veterinarian Dr. Nan Hanshaw examine one of the nearly 200 Chihuahuas seized from a home in northeastern Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. Department spokeswoman Nichole Bucher says veterinarians who checked the 187 dogs found no serious health problems, only minor eye, teeth and skin problems. She says the two men who kept the dogs at their Columbia County home treated them as pets and identified them by name to officials who took them away. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, William R. Nichols)
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In this photo released by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians Dr. Nan Hanshaw, left, and Dr. Danielle Ward offload some of the nearly 200 Chihuahuas seized from a home in northeastern Pennsylvania,. on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. Department spokeswoman Nichole Bucher says veterinarians who checked the 187 dogs found no serious health problems, only minor eye, teeth and skin problems. She says the two men who kept the dogs at their Columbia County home treated them as pets and identified them by name to officials who took them away. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, William R. Nichols)
In this photo released by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians Dr. Nan Hanshaw, left, and Dr. Danielle Ward offload some of the nearly 200 Chihuahuas seized from a home in northeastern Pennsylvania,. on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa. Department spokeswoman Nichole Bucher says veterinarians who checked the 187 dogs found no serious health problems, only minor eye, teeth and skin problems. She says the two men who kept the dogs at their Columbia County home treated them as pets and identified them by name to officials who took them away. (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, William R. Nichols)
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ The scene was shocking _ 185 Chihuahuas were being kept at a home in northeastern Pennsylvania. The corpses of 30 more were packed in a freezer.

Acting on multiple tips, state dog wardens and state troopers executed a search warrant Thursday night, removed the animals and transported them to temporary quarters at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex in Harrisburg.

Officials described it as a case of animal hoarding.

The Department of Agriculture, which enforces the state dog law, had not filed charges against the owners, identified as Thomas and Albert Ambrosia of Benton, as of Friday morning. State police, who would file any cruelty charges, also had nothing to report.

State law requires anyone who keeps, transfers or boards more than 25 dogs to obtain a kennel license and be inspected annually. Dogs also are required to have dog licenses and rabies vaccinations.

Thomas Ambrosia did not immediately return a phone message left Friday at his home, which is also listed as Albert Ambrosia’s residence. It was unclear whether they are related.

Veterinarians who checked the Chihuahuas _ plus a coon dog and a mixed breed that were also removed from the residence _ found no serious health issues, only minor eye, teeth and skin problems.

The dogs wagged their tails when visitors approached their crates and apparently came from a loving home, officials said.

“The owners were telling us their names as we were tagging them,” said Nicole Bucher, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture.

The dogs in the freezer, which included adults and puppies, apparently died of natural causes and the owners said they planned to cremate them, Bucher said.

“They weren’t killed,” she said.

Bucher said conditions at the home were “not as bad as one would think.”

The owners “were doing the best they could in the circumstances they were in. It just got out of hand,” she said.

By Friday morning, animal shelters had agreed to take in about half of the dogs. Bucher said she hoped to place the rest by the end of the day.

“I think they’re ready to find their ‘forever’ home,” she said.

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