NEW ALBANY, Pa. (WETM) — Two Susquehanna County residents were arrested over the weekend on charges of animal abuse relating to a condemned property they own in Bradford County.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, Karen A. Decker and Jeffrey K. Decker of Uniondale, Pa. were arrested on Saturday, Aug. 5, and charged on six counts of aggravated cruelty to animals – torture, a grade three felony, and six counts of cruelty to animals, a grade two misdemeanor.
Police say that back on June 7, 2023, they discovered six dogs that were left in cages for a long period of time inside a condemned home in New Albany, Pa. without food or water.
Both Karen and Jeffrey Decker were talked to by police that day and told police that they no longer lived inside the home due to it being condemned and of it having black mold issues inside.
The two told police that they were unable to keep the dogs at the residence they were currently living in, the two said they make the two-hour drive daily to care for the dogs, but both told police they weren’t taking care of the dogs properly. The two then told police that the dogs would be left caged inside the house for at least 24 hours at a time without being let outside to use the bathroom, and without fresh food or water for several weeks.
On the same date, police were at the scene of the house and were let in by K. Decker and J. Decker after they drove from their temporary residence.
Police say that they saw numerous dogs kept in cages and that the odor inside of the house was so overwhelming that they couldn’t breathe and their lungs were burning from a combination of water damage, black mold, and dog feces.
Police reported that the windows were closed, depriving all six dogs of fresh air and that the smell was so bad coming from that home that they had to leave the house and stand outside.
Five dogs were placed in the back of the State Dog Wardens vehicle by K. Decker, with police saying three of the dogs were covered in feces and excessively matted. Police noticed one of the dogs to be extremely malnourished with protruding hip, back and rib bones.
Five of the dogs were taken from the homeowners and taken to an animal shelter in Ulster to be evaluated, with the sixth one being given back to the owners at the scene. Police say that days later, one of the five dogs at the animal shelter was released back to the owners for being too aggressive, with the other four remaining at the animal shelter.
K. Decker and J. Decker were processed on Aug. 6 with bail set for $50,000. The two have their first court appearance on Aug. 16.