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Dogs left alone ‘just trying to survive’ after homeowners move away

Authorities said that Rugar and Renny were left alone in a house to fend for themselves after their owners moved away. Derek Reese and Kayla Schaeffer who owned the dogs, are now facing animal cruelty charges. (WNEP)

ASHLAND, Pa. (WNEP) — Two dogs were rescued Tuesday from a home in Schuylkill County after police say the homeowners moved away but left the dogs inside alone to fend for themselves.

According to police, the homeowners, Derek Reese and Kayla Schaeffer, turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday morning. They’re now facing animal cruelty charges.

Rugar and Renny were in a joyous and playful mood, making themselves at home at Hillside SPCA near Pottsville, a far cry from where these two dogs were a day earlier.

“Just standing outside the house, you could smell the feces and the urine and then once you walked in, it was nothing like we’d pictured it’d be. There was feces everywhere and once we got to the kitchen and saw the crates, it was something out of a nightmare,” said humane officer Michaela Royer.

According to Ashland police, Rugar and Renny were left inside the home in the 1400 block of Centre Street in Ashland for “quite some time.” According to court papers, homeowners Derek Reese and Kayla Schaeffer moved out, but left the dogs inside in “deplorable” conditions.

Rugar broke out of his cage and was roaming free, while Renny was left trapped inside her cage, having to sit in her own feces.

Neighbors had been complaining about the dogs barking throughout all hours of the day and night since January.

“Rugar, the male, the husky shepherd mix, he actually broke out of his crate. Thankfully for him he did and he was eating dirty diapers, he was eating toilet paper, anything he could find, he was eating just trying to survive,” Royer said.

Police say there was no clean food or water left for the dogs. After an arrest warrant was issued for Reese and Schaeffer, the two turned themselves in and were arraigned on animal cruelty charges.

Hillside SPCA hopes Rugar and Renny’s pictures will be added to a wall along with other dogs who have been adopted from the shelter.

“Seeing them now, they’re completely different from when they were in the house. They were scared in the house and just getting them out of the crate, out of the house, they’re so much happier.”

Hillside SPCA tells us Rugar and Renny will be fixed Thursday, then put up for adoption.

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