By Rick Pfeiffer
Animal cruelty investigators say they believe they are close to an arrest after the seizure Sunday morning of three dogs from a home on 12th Street in the Falls.
Investigators tell the Gazette they have identified a suspect in the case and are waiting for a warrant to be issued.
Meanwhile, a 7-month-old puppy remains in critical condition at the SPCA of Niagara's facility.
SPCA officials first went to the home on Friday after receiving a tip call that their were dogs in the home that appeared to have been abandoned. The SPCA animal control officer was unable to get into the home at that time.
Early Sunday morning, someone called Falls police with a similar complaint and officers who responded were able to get into the house and found the three malnourished dogs. Two of the dogs, including a 7-week-old Labrador mix puppy, were described as emaciated.
The puppy is currently at the SPCA's Lockport Road shelter and is described as being in "critical condition."
Conditions inside the home were described as deplorable.
"Once the police were able to get into the home, they called us and said, 'You need to get out here'," SPCA Shelter Director Amy Lewis said.
Lewis said neighbors told investigators that the owner of the dogs appeared to have abandoned them.
“The neighbors said they had seen the owner come and go, but it was apparent he wasn’t taking care of (the dogs).” she said.
The dogs are described as Labrador-rottweiler mixes. They were a male, a female and the puppy.
Lewis said the male was in the best shape of the three. She added that puppy would probably not have survived the night had it not been found on Sunday.
The puppy is believed to be about 7-months-old and weighs just 3 pounds. It should weigh 9 to 12 pounds, Lewis said.
Despite limited capacity at the shelter, Lewis added that the SPCA was ready to step in and rescue the dogs and pursue their abuser.
"When it rains, it pours, but it keeps us resilient and when something like this happens and will always respond," she said.
Animal cruelty investigators said anyone who may have additional information about the dogs or their owner can contact them at the shelter at 731-4368.