A man and a woman were cited earlier this month for cruelty to animals after several cats and dogs were seized from a condemned Washington Avenue home where they were staying.
Robert E. Decker, 44, whose address is listed as a Altoona post office box, was cited for cruelty to animals for the condition of his numerous cats rescued from 2108 Washington Ave., according to a citation filed at Magisterial District Judge Todd F. Kelly's office.
Rhonda S. Brumbaugh, 29, whose address was listed as the Washington Avenue location, was cited with the same charge for the condition of her three dogs at the house, according to a citation.
This house at 2108 Washington Ave. was demolished, and the owners face citations.
Efforts to reach Decker and Brumbaugh for comment were unsuccessful.
The city first investigated the home because of a welfare check on an elderly woman living there, Humane Police Officer Paul Gottshall of the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society said.
The humane society assisted the city in the rescue. About 15 cats were rescued from the home, he said. The animals, which were malnourished, were taken to the humane society for adoption.
The poor economy has increased the amount of calls they receive for these situations, Gottshall said.
The rescue occurred Aug. 10, and the Washington Avenue house was demolished this week.
Altoona Community Development Block Grant Manager Mary Johnson said the emergency demolition began Tuesday because of a cockroach, flea and vermin infestation. The home was filled with garbage.
"It was a health and safety hazard," she said.
Neighbors Adam Luciano and Samantha Bennett said they were concerned about cats they believed were still in the home after the rescue. Bennett said she told the humane society and city officials at the scene about three or four cats she had seen after the other animals were rescued.
Altoona Dog Law Officer Mike Daversa said a sweep of the property was done. Any cats discovered later got in after the fact, he said.
The responsibility of making sure the house was clear of animals was the duty of city code enforcement, which they did, Gottshall said.
"If something comes in in the middle of the night, we can't control that," he said.
It is up to the owner to secure the building, he said. An animal would not get left behind intentionally.
The city never got a phone call about animals left behind, Daversa said.
"I was there. They did a professional job," he said of the humane society, which he praised for their efforts.