KINGSTON TWP. — A township police officer immediately noted a “smell of death” coming from a house trailer filled with neglected and dead dogs on Echo Valley Drive.
The gruesome discovery was so extreme, township code enforcement officer William Eck was forced to wear a protective suit and an air pack to breath during an interior inspection.
Township police and the SPCA of Luzerne County charged Karen A. Reilly, 50, of Heisz Street, Edwardsville, with 31 counts of cruelty to animals and 19 counts each of failure to obtain dog licenses for each canine and failure to vaccinate each dog. Reilly surrendered on the charges at the office of District Judge James Tupper in Kingston Township on Friday.
Reilly was released on $10,000 unsecured bail and ordered not to own any animals as her case remains open. A dog currently in her care is expected to be seized by the SPCA.
Humane officers removed 11 live dogs from the trailer and the carcasses of four canines on Sept. 27. A dog that escaped was later captured.
Three other dog carcasses were removed when humane officers returned to the trailer on Oct. 14.
Authorities said the trailer was infested with maggots, flies, fleas and other insects and had a strong odor of urine, feces and rotting flesh. Fecal waste material was several inches deep in most areas inside the trailer and there was no food and water.
The trailer was immediately condemned by Eck. It was demolished on Oct. 25.
According to the criminal complaint:
Police officer Michael Prokopchak responded to the trailer Sept. 27 due to numerous animals inside the house trailer in which Reilly had been evicted a month earlier.
Prokopchak noted “the smell of death coming from inside the residence.”
Eck entered the trailer through a window wearing a protective suit and an air pack, noticing “eaten and rotted remains of a dog’s head on the floor,” the complaint says.
Humane officers removed the living dogs as one dog ran out and licked water from the pavement in front of the trailer. The escaped dog was captured in a trap on Sept. 29.
The living dogs were taken to the Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital where they were defleaed, vaccinated and provided food and water. The dogs gained significant weight and improved in the following weeks, the complaint says.
Reilly relinquished ownership of the 12 living dogs, telling authorities she was saving money to get two deceased dogs cremated, according to the complaint.
Reilly allegedly admitted that none of the dogs were licensed and vaccinated for rabies.
Reilly refused to comment after the arraignment. She hid her face with court papers as she walked to her vehicle and drove away.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Jan. 23.