Ross Township Rescue

We’re proud to welcome a total of 117 Australian Shepherd, Border Collie and Golden Retriever mixes to Animal Friends. Each one of our newest residents was removed from a single residence in Ross Township on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

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Update: Oct. 14, 2019

As the dogs from our Ross Township Rescue continue to make incredible progress, we’re pleased to report that as of today, 30 of them have been adopted by loving families! Another 15 have been transferred to trusted breed rescue organizations so they can continue to get specialized, one-on-one attention.

But, there are still plenty of others who are currently searching (or will be very soon!) for families of their own. If you’re interested in adopting one of these sweet pups, contact our Adoption team at 412.847.7002 or And, keep an eye on our adoptable dogs page to stay up to date with the latest information about the Ross Rescue Dogs!


Update: Oct. 3, 2019

We cannot thank everyone enough who submitted an adoption application for our beloved Ross Rescue Dogs!

A few of them will be made available for adoption tomorrow upon our opening at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. However, those who are still interested in them need to understand the full scope of the challenges that comes with adopting one of the dogs from our Ross Township Rescue.

The conditions they lived in were deplorable and no training was provided to them – even in regard to housebreaking. These dogs have no concept of only going to the bathroom outdoors. They’ll need an understanding family who knows that accidents in your home are going to happen. They are also still very new to wearing collars and leashes, so their adopters will need to use positive reinforcement methods to find success in their training.

These dogs are also incredibly intelligent and incredibly active. Their breeds (primarily Australian Shepherd and Border Collie) and backgrounds are working dogs. They must be kept active and stimulated – mentally and physically – or they will become destructive.

Each and every family bringing them into their home will need to start from the basics of training … and be patient.
For those who are still interested in adopting one of the Ross Rescue Dogs and had previously filled out an application, please review our Adoption Guidelines and come to Animal Friends to meet with our Adoption team on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because of the sheer number of dogs from the rescue, readying them for loving homes is going to take time. They will be available on a rolling basis which could takes weeks, and even up to months. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we prepare them for adoption.

Thank you again for the outpouring of support from our community. We are so grateful and humbled. And, we can truly say in the short amount of time these dogs have been with us, they’ve already experienced more love than they have ever received in their entire lives.


Update: Sept. 26, 2019

The 117 dogs who were rescued from a Ross Township residence are now acclimating to their new lives at Animal Friends.

Upon arrival, each of the dogs were examined by veterinary staff. Most of them were underweight, suffering from skin issues, fleas and bite wounds ranging from minor to one very severe wound to the head. None of the dogs were spayed or neutered, so each is being scheduled for surgery at Animal Friends. And, all of the dogs have received age-appropriate vaccinations. Also among the group were 16 puppies between the ages of 3 days and 5 weeks. The youngest puppies are now in foster homes with their mothers so they can nurse and grow.

As these dogs are medically cleared, they will continue to interact with staff and volunteers and undergo behavior evaluations before they are ready to be adopted. Because they have received little human interaction, many of them are still learning how to walk on a leash – or even wear a collar. They have begun working on canine manners like housebreaking and basic commands. One by one, staff and volunteers at Animal Friends are getting to know the dogs and their unique, quirky and playful personalities.

To help with kennel space and caring for the dogs, Dog Stop® Pittsburgh North in Wexford has taken in 15 of them. These dogs are not currently available for meet-and-greets with the public and all adoption applications will still be handled by Animal Friends.


Update: Sept. 13, 2019

After about 36 hours at Animal Friends, the 117 dogs from our Ross Township Rescue are settling in and their true personalities are starting to shine! One by one, we are getting to know our newest canine residents as their second chance has begun. Each of the dogs has been examined by our Medical team and their behavior evaluations have begun. As they continue to acclimate, we are seeing more happy faces and wagging tails and our staff and volunteers are getting plenty of loving kisses!

Today, our team returned to the scene to do a final sweep. Tragically, two deceased dogs were found. And while these two sweet souls never made it through our doors, they will forever remain members of the Animal Friends family. They fueled our team to work even harder to ensure no more lives would be left behind. We are determined and continue to gather evidence so that our Humane Investigations team can file charges in the coming weeks.

Like so many of you, we are appalled at the conditions that these dogs were subjected to. Over the past several years, we had received various complaints from neighbors about this property – many of which were not related to animal welfare. The complaints ranged from noise and code violations to property upkeep. Our Humane Society Police Officers investigated the property several years ago and while there were 6-8 dogs there at the time, no violations to Animal Cruelty Law were found. Other complaints were forwarded to the appropriate organizations or municipal departments for review and enforcement.

Most recently, several calls were received about odor and barking dogs. While our officers were unable to secure critical follow up information from some of the complainants, it was their investigation of a fully documented, written complaint on Wednesday, Sept. 11 which led to saving the lives of 117 dogs.


Update: Sept. 12, 2019

Our Humane Investigations team is looking into how this situation got so out of control and plans to get to the bottom of it. Of the 117 dogs, approximately 25 are puppies (some just days old and nursing from their mothers) and the rest range in age from adults to a few elderly. Several of the dogs are emaciated and were in need of immediate medical attention. One dog is off-site being treated for a bite wound and is in stable condition. Sadly, one puppy who was just days old passed away.

Our dedicated staff and volunteers responded to the call and remained on-site until every dog was safely removed from the property. Upon arrival at Animal Friends, each dog was named and immediately surrounded with love.

Working into the early morning hours, our team provided triage and a clean, dry kennel so they could begin to get accustomed to their time as part of the Animal Friends family.

Dependent upon the medical assessments of the dogs, our Humane Society Police Officers will file charges within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we are committed to providing the dogs the individualized care they need until they’re ready to find loving homes.

As soon as our responding Humane Police Officers were able to observe the situation in the home, they took immediate action.

“We would not have been able to provide rescue and safe haven to the Ross Dogs without the dedication and collaboration from all parties involved. We cannot thank the first responders, from Ross Township police, fire and EMS as well as PAART and the Salvation Army enough for their support … it was truly lifesaving. We are also very appreciative of our continued relationship and collaboration with the state dog warden on these types of cases.”
– Kathleen Beaver, Animal Friends Interim President & CEO

Animal Friends is so grateful for the outpouring of support from our community. Click here to make a donation to support the care of these dogs.

Other needs include:

  • Dog and puppy food
  • Treats
  • Slip leads and leashes
  • Kennel-safe toys
  • Peanut butter and spray cheese for training
  • Clorox wipes
  • Blankets (we currently have an abundance of towels, thank you!)
  • ALL Free & Clear laundry detergent (must be this brand due to skin irritations)
  • Multi-panel exercise pens (minimum 4′ tall x 8′ wide)

Purchase items from our Amazon Wish List to be shipped directly to our campus!


Frequently Asked Questions:

What can I do to help?
Rescues like these are very time consuming and expensive. But we know that they’re worth every second … and every penny. Donations are greatly appreciated and will truly save lives. Other needs include dog and puppy food, treats, slip leads and leashes and kennel-safe toys.

Purchase items from our Amazon Wish List to be shipped directly to our campus!

Where can I make a donation?
Click here to make a financial contribution that will support our rescue efforts for the Ross Township Dogs.

If you do not want to make a contribution online, donations will also be accepted in person at Animal Friends (562 Camp Horne Rd., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15237) during our regular hours of operation (M-F 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and S-S 10 a.m.-5 p.m.).

When will these dogs be available for adoption?
Each of these dogs will undergo a thorough medical examination and will be spayed or neutered , vaccinated and provided with any other care they may need. They will also receive a behavioral evaluation to determine what type of family will be the best fit for them. We are hopeful that the dogs will start to become available for adoption within a couple of weeks. If you are specifically interested in adopting one of the dogs from our Ross Township Rescue, be sure to note “Ross Township Rescue” on your adoption application. Because we have received an overwhelming number of applications for these dogs – please know that submitting an application will not guarantee your ability to adopt.

Are you in need of fosters?
If you’re interested in fostering, please fill out our foster application. Although we may not have an immediate need for fosters for these dogs, providing foster care for our other canine residents may open up much-needed kennel space for our Ross Township Dogs. Once we determine if any of these dogs will need fosters homes, our Foster Care Coordinator will be in touch with you.

Will charges be filed?
Based upon the outcome of each of the dog’s medical examination, our Humane Society Police Officers plan to file charges against the actor within the next couple of weeks.

Is this hoarding situation due to a mental illness?
While this is clearly a hoarding situation, we cannot speculate on the homeowner’s health.

Is this the same residence that was involved in the 2008 Ross Township hoarding case?
Yes. In 2008, Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations team worked in collaboration with multiple agencies and federal charges were filed.

I have a missing dog who meets the description of the Ross Township Dogs. Could one of these dogs be mine?
All of the dogs involved in this rescue appear to be related. All are Australian Shepherd, Border Collie or Golden Retriever mixes. If you would like to check to see if your dog may be at Animal Friends, please send a photo of your dog to and our staff will check current residents and get back to you.


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