The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 30, 2013

Dog day afternoon

Attempt to corral canine fails; puppies taken

By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer

SHARON — More than a dozen Animal Advocacy volunteers pulled out all the stops to try and rescue a skittish and cranky Great Dane holed up inside an abandoned house in Sharon.

Shots were fired and holes chopped in the floors of the ranch-style house in the 1000 block of Charles Street while volunteers standing in knee-high grass held a section of orange snow fence outside, anticipating a snarling and frightened dog to charge them at any moment.

Gerda Widmyer, director of the animal rescue organization, said four puppies were rescued by Saturday evening, but the mother and other puppies remain in a crawl space under the house.

When the group first arrived about 2 p.m., the dog was outside the house, she said. When a volunteer peered into the home, trying to see where the puppies were, Widmyer said the dog came up behind him and lunged at him. That’s when her son, off-duty Sharon police officer Scott Widmyer, fired his gun in the air to scare the dog off.

Police had been called several months ago when a neighbor, also frightened of the dog, shot at her, striking her in the back leg.

After Widmyer fired his gun, the dog crawled under the house, where rescuers could not see her, but could hear a steady stream of loud, menacing growls.

Widmyer’s husband, Art, along with other volunteers, chopped up the floorboard in the home, and with a flashlight, tried to locate the animal. Eventually, she said, the fire department came up with chainsaws and cut “holes everywhere.”

Rescuers pulled four blue-eyed puppies from the crawlspace, and aside from some fleas and dirt, all appear to be healthy, Widmyer said.

The group placed a large kennel over the hole the dog has been using to get in and out of the house and hopes the dog will come out on her own. Widmyer, who was carrying a syringe of “medicine” she said would knock the dog out, said she cannot wait to get this situation resolved.

“I know she’s charged some of the neighbors. And there was a Boxer lost last year at Petco and I’m pretty sure that’s the dog that’s been running with her. If we didn’t get those puppies, pretty soon they would be running too and we’d have a pack of wild dogs running loose,” she said.

She had already made arrangements for the dog’s veterinary care and boarding at a Grove City kennel.

The group has a camera set up across the street to monitor the stray’s activity. “She has pretty much the same routine she follows, so we’ll know pretty quickly when she comes out,” she said.

The puppies appear to be about six weeks old, and are likely a Siberian Husky and Great Dane mix. Once they are eight weeks old they will be ready for adoption, she said.

The biggest problem the group faces right now, she added, is the cost of caring for the puppies and the mother, once she is caught. “We’re hoping for some donations, honestly, because it’s going to be expensive. There will be vet bills, shots, worming and boarding,” she said.