KINGSTON TOWNSHIP -- A woman was charged Friday with animal abuse in Luzerne County. She is accused of abandoning more than a dozen dogs after she was evicted.
Authorities filed 69 charges against Karen Reilly, 50, of Edwardsville.They accuse her of abandoning 19 dogs when she was evicted back in September. Some of the animals died.
Kingston Township police say when she moved out, she left the dogs behind with little food or water.
Shielding her face with court papers and refusing to answer questions, Reilly left an arraignment alone after she was charged with more 69 counts of animal cruelty and failing to have her dogs licensed and vaccinated.
“Very glad to hear that something has finally happened to this lady. She needs to be charged,” said Carol Coutant of Kingston Township.
Newswatch 16 was there in September when crews in hazmat suits removed dogs from Reilly's mobile home on Echo Valley Drive near Dallas.
Kingston township police say Reilly abandoned the dogs after she was evicted, leaving the 19 animals with little food or water.
Authorities say seven dogs were found dead and12 others survived.
Peggy Phillips says she knew Reilly for eight years but had no idea how many dogs she owned.
“They were all healthy. And then all of a sudden we’d never see any garbage out there. We’d never see them around. But you’d hear the dogs barking.”
Neighbors tell us they are relieved that Reilly has been charged with animal cruelty and that her home is now gone. Authorities say the place was so filthy that they had it demolished back in October. All that’s left is a concrete pad.
“He started cleaning the inside out. He said ‘my God.’ He said ‘I didn’t even want to go in to touch it.’ That’s how filthy it was,” said neighbor John Pytell.
While out walking his dog Sasha, Pytell says he's glad the mobile home is gone and the case has not been forgotten.
All 69 charges are misdemeanors that could result in fines or jail time.
Some neighbors say they're surprised that Reilly was released without having to post any bail.
“I think she ought to go to jail. I do, I think she ought to go to jail,” said Dave Williams of Kingston Township.
“They should be stronger, especially for multiple things like this,” Coutant added.
Reilly was released without having to post bail but the judge said she will have to surrender a dog she owns now in Edwardsville.
The SPCA says all 12 dogs that survived have been adopted or are in foster homes.