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Abused dog rescued in Luzerne County likely 'in pain for at least two years' as animal refuge seeks answers

Animal rescuers in Luzerne County are searching for answers while caring for a dog they say has likely been through years of neglect.

DALLAS, Pa. — Animal rescuers in Dallas are searching for answers while caring for a dog they say has likely been through years of neglect. This is the second severe animal abuse case in Luzerne County in just over a month. 

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A day after his rescue, you can see Jonah's paws are still swollen.

“He had fleas jumping off of him, he had the most fleas I've ever seen on a dog, and I've seen quite a few cases of fleas before,” Emma Ripka, a senior volunteer at Blue Chip Animal Refuge in Dallas, said.

Newswatch 16 visited the refuge Sunday morning and watched the dog, thought to be an older adult Lab mix, as he scratched and licked his mostly furless skin.

Ripka says when she first found the dog, covered in urine, she could see his infected skin with open wounds on his back, his eyes and ears also most likely infected, and his rotting teeth falling out of his gums.

The dog barks and growls as most people approach his crate at the refuge. But even though Jonah isn’t so trusting to most people, he allowed Ripka to leash him to bring him to the refuge on Saturday. And the dog seemed much calmer as Ripka took him for a walk the following day. The volunteer says it’s clear the dog withstood neglect for a long time.

“He's most likely been in pain for at least two years,” Ripka said. “Doesn't happen overnight."

Ripka says she got the dog from two "finders" wishing to stay anonymous – but through more tips coming in, they're finding some answers and narrowing down the search.

“We know for a fact this was a house dog. This dog was not dumped. This dog has not been on the run for a long time, unfortunately. I would rather that. We are just waiting for confirmation on the exact name of the owner,” she said.

Meanwhile, the refuge sprang right into action – feeding, medicating, and cleaning the dog up. They say he'll go to the vet Monday, and it could cost thousands.

Though by Sunday, it seems he's come a long way in the one day since his rescue, he's still got a ways to go before adoption.

“We're definitely gonna take our time with this. We're not gonna rush anything with him,” Ripka said.

The refuge's owner and founder, Marge Bart, says it could be a good six months at least.

“He'll need baths with medicated shampoo, he'll need steroids, he'll need to get back in shape, you can see, wherever he's been, he hasn't been exercised properly."

Newswatch 16 reached out to Harveys Lake Police Department to see if officers have opened up a criminal investigation but haven't heard back yet.

And though the animal refuge says it’s already in contact with local law enforcement about this, it says the SPCA will also be contacted on Monday. The SPCA isn’t commenting at this time since it’s not yet involved in the case.

To donate to Jonah’s recovery, Blue Chip Animal Refuge has these options available:

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