Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania in Lititz, Lancaster County, will be the new home for three wolf hybrids surrendered Wednesday when law enforcement officials served a search warrant as part of an animal cruelty investigation in Bentleyville.
The family-owned nonprofit organization relies on tours, fundraisers and donations to support its endeavor. A spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kelly Proudfit, executive director of Washington Area Humane Society, wanted to scotch rumors the shelter in Eighty Four was going to euthanize the wolf hybrids, which cannot legally be kept as pets in Pennsylvania.
Although the breeder of the wolf hybrids in Ohio offered to take them back, Proudfit did not want to go that route.
“They’re going to have a good life now,” Proudfit said. The humane society does not have a vehicle to transport the trio, which range in age from 4 months to 1 ½ years, so it likely will be renting one early next week.
The canines’ living conditions came to light when a neighbor of Frederick Frameli of Spring Street, Bentleyville, contacted Washington Area Humane Society last week with allegations one dog had its head held underwater and other dogs appeared to be underweight.
After discussing the situation with Glen Thomson, humane society police officer, the neighbor sent him videos of the alleged mistreatment.
“It is clear to see in one video a man scruffing a white German shepherd-type by the fur and skin of the neck and dragging it to a tub of some sort,” wrote Thomson in an affidavit of probable cause. “He then lifts the dog by the scruff and puts him in the tub and forces the dog’s head down and holds it.”
The witness said the tub was full of water. One person outside Frameli’s home as canines were being removed Wednesday called the action “waterboarding.”
In the affidavit, Thomson did not indicate a motive for the actions seen in the video.
The search warrant lists 46 items seized at Frameli’s home, including 11 canines, three of which are believed to be wolf hybrids. The others are described as German shepherd-types.
Twenty-one items are medications, including drugs for urinary incontinence, motion sickness and anxiety, plus antibiotics, antidepressants and pain relievers.
Washington County Assistant District Attorney Craig R. McKay approved Thomson’s search warrant application.
For now, all 11 canines are living at the humane society in Eighty Four after receiving standard vaccinations and treatments.
“They are very, very, very underweight,” said Proudfit, adding urine has burned and stained their paws and bodies, “a sign they’ve been living in their own waste.”
The staff of the humane society is feeding the animals that came from Frameli’s house small meals, several times a day.
Although the dogs also were dehydrated, none had to be sent to an animal hospital for emergency care.
Proudfit said Washington Area Humane Society took in 86 “case animals” all of last year, but so far this year, they number 112.
She appealed to the public for aid, and asked they check washingtonpashelter.org for ways to help.
The average length of stay at the shelter is six weeks, and the average cost of caring for an animal is $600.
Last year, 996 animals were adopted from the humane society, which has a 97 percent live-release rate.
No charges had been filed against Frameli as of Thursday. “Libre’s Law,” which allows felony charges to be filed in Pennsylvania in cases of animal abuse, takes effect Monday, and thus would not apply in this case.