Seized Animals Find Refuge at Ritchie County Shelter | News, Sports, Jobs


Michele Stutler of the Ritchie Animal Humane Society is giving Nathaniel some love. He was among four dogs removed from an animal cruelty environment earlier this week. (Photo by Candice Black)

HARRISVILLE — With the help of humanitarian workers, law enforcement and special friends in Pennsylvania, more than 80 animals have found refuge this week after being rescued from poor living conditions.

More than 30 pigs, four dogs, several geese, ducks, chickens, a turkey and a raccoon were removed from a residence in Auburn. The animals are now in foster homes, humane society and a pig rescue.

Michele Stutler, vice chair of the board of the Ritchie County Humane Society, said employees needed to quickly find a way to house the poultry they rescued from the property.

“We adapted and did what we could. We have outdoor dog shelters with roofs, they have heat lamps inside. They could fly away if they wanted to, they don’t even try to leave the area. said Stutler.

Several of the birds have approved the requests and will be moving to their new homes soon.

The Ritchie County Humane Society, with assistance from the Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department, seized more than 80 animals, including chickens, geese and ducks. All animals are warm and happy waiting for their new home. (Photo by Candice Black)

“There was a very big turkey. He is in his new home, one of the deputies has taken him. There are people here in the community who have poultry on (their) farms. For ducks and geese they have ponds. They will take good care of them and they will want them,” said Stutler.

All four dogs are in good shape other than malnourished and Stutler said people have already expressed interest in adopting or adopting them.

“It’s nothing a little TLC and some dog foods won’t take care of”, she said.

Through a friend, Stutler was able to get in touch with the Pigsburgh Squealers, a pig rescue in Pennsylvania that took the pigs into custody.

“They were more than willing to help,” said Stutler.

Several birds were removed from a home with poor living conditions and Michele Stutler of the Ritchie Humane Society said several residents were interested in adopting them. (Photo by Candice Black)

Blue Martin with the Pigsburgh Squealers said all the pigs are doing well and one had babies shortly after arriving to the rescue.

“They named her Cassie, all her babies are girls. She stays in the foster home of the house of the woman who helped seize all the pigs,” said Martin. “They are doing great. It’s honestly very surprising how thin Mom was and still is. We were surprised that she was even able to produce milk. You could tell she had been raised many, many times, it’s heartbreaking.

Nikki Herner, the woman who was arrested and charged with animal cruelty, raised and sold teacup pigs. Martin said four other pigs were also bred multiple times.

The Pigsburgh Squealers will be working on spaying and neutering all pigs in the coming weeks. Martin said it is very expensive and it will take some time for all the pigs to be exploited.

She started a fundraiser to help raise money for the surgeries and so far over $6,000 has been donated with a goal of $10,000.

“I am so grateful. The fact that Nikki was arrested and charged is appreciated. I can’t say enough about the sheriff and human society for doing something,” said Martin. “We’re trying to change the perception of pigs, we just hope people see how much they deserve the care and protection that dogs and cats also get.”

Stutler said the rescue could not have happened without the help of volunteers who helped catch the animals and the pig rescue for taking the pigs.

“It was a horrible situation all around. We couldn’t be more grateful to them,” she said. “We would have been in a world of suffering without them.”

Visit the Pigsburgh Squealers Facebook page to donate to pig farms and the Ritchie County Humane Society Facebook page to donate for their animals.

Candice Black can be contacted at [email protected].

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Jennifer R. Strohm