Editor's note: This release was published in Wednesday's Tribune, prior to the news that Jonah had passed.
Sunday morning, the Niagara County SPCA met officers from Niagara Falls Police Department and removed three dogs from a residence on 12th Street in Niagara Falls. The dogs, male and female adults and a male puppy, were rushed to the Niagara County SPCA for immediate medical attention.
An 8-week-old Labrador retriever mix puppy was listed as in critical condition. Two of the three dogs are emaciated. Conditions inside the residence have been described as deplorable, according to Amy Lewis, shelter director.
Niagara Falls Police are seeking the whereabouts of the owner.
Anyone interested in contributing to the care of the rescued dogs, or the puppy who has been dubbed Jonah, pictured above, right, should visit the SPCA website at niagaraspca.org, where a special link has been set up for these donations.
Jonah is being closely monitored and kept on a heating pad. He's getting fluids and is on a special diet that requires him being fed every couple of hours, Lewis said.
"He should weigh between 10 and 12 pounds; he's 3 pounds," Lewis said of the golden brown colored puppy. "He's really lethargic; he really doesn't have the energy to do anything."
The adult female dog, Nellie, shown left, is at least 10 pounds underweight," Lewis added. The male has a good body weight, but his coat is dull and matted from living in his own excrement.
Lewis said the dogs at some point will likely be put up for adoption, but with a court case pending, plus the current health of the dogs, it may take a while.
Police had received calls concerning the welfare of the animals, which appeared to have been abandoned at the residence.
"This is really sad and there is no excuse for such neglect, especially when there are other avenues available to owners when they cannot care for their animals. He could have picked up the phone and contacted our shelter or a local rescue. Most shelters and rescues are full this time of year, but many will find the room if we are made aware of the severity of the situation," Lewis said.
Niagara Falls Police officer and SPCA board member Dave Bower said, "This is a clear case of neglect. The owner of these dogs failed to provide basic care, and he faces three counts of animal cruelty."
Meanwhile, the shelter already is dealing with overcrowding, despite a fee-waived adoption promotion for both dogs and cats that began June 26 and will continue until Wednesday, July 10.
Anyone who is witness to animal cruelty or neglect in Niagara County is urged to call 731-4368, ext. 307. If you have a complaint outside of SPCA investigation hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call your local police department.