SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — UPDATE: Police say the owner of the dogs has come forward and that charges have not yet been filed
A typical dog rescue quickly turned into a nightmare for Dana Smithmansell, a humane police officer for the Hillside SPCA in Pottsville.
"It's gruesome; it was a gruesome scene to come upon," said Smithmansell. "Never have I ever come across anything like that here, never."
Smithmansell was responding to a call from Cass Township police.
They told her a hiker found several dogs in a mineshaft just off Thomaston road in Heckscherville. The mineshaft sits on Reading Anthracite Company property, and once she got there, she knew something was wrong.
"They were very emaciated; they were there for a while," said Smithmansell. "There's just, in my mind, there's no way a young puppy who has no sense of fear or anything would not come out if they were alive."
Homes near the crime scene have been left abandoned, but neighbors that remain say it's not unusual to see people hanging around late at night.
Diane Kanezo is one of the last remaining residents on Thomaston road.
She says that every so often, there are strange vehicles stopping outside the mineshaft, which is now taped off by police.
"This happens ten, eleven o'clock at night, that there are vehicles up here, and they do stop off down in this area of homes," said Kanezo
Kanezo says she hopes police are able to find whoever left the dogs there.
"And like the cop said, you have to catch them at it. You can't go around accusing anybody," said Kanezo. "You have to catch them."
If you have any information relating to the dumping of those dogs in Cass Township, you are urged to contact Cass Township police or the Hillside SPCA.
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