WILLIAMSPORT -- A man from Lycoming County could face animal cruelty charges for not getting his flea-infested dogs treated.
A case of fleas is easily fixed, but the SPCA says many people don't realize their animals have fleas and the insects can live inside all winter long.
Out of the three dogs we met Monday, Nugget the pit bull had the worst case of fleas. The vet at the SPCA in Lycoming County says a severe case like Nugget's can lead to sores, hair loss, and even anemia.
Bella the Pomeranian and two pit bulls, Nugget and Jewels, have all been checked and treated for fleas at the SPCA in Williamsport.
Last week, the three dogs were removed from their home in Jersey Shore after the SPCA got a tip that the dogs needed medical care.
"They were severely infested with fleas. Two of the dogs suffered from hair loss. One dog is very thin. The other dog you can't see the hair loss but was flea infested," said Victoria Stryker.
Nugget has the worst case. He has barely any fur left on his back end.
Kabrina Schweikert works at the SPCA and was there when the dogs were picked up. She thinks the fleas could have gone untreated for months.
"It's something usually very easily treated when it's treated when you first start to notice it, but when it gets to what his is then it does become much harder to treat and a much longer process," said Kabrina Schweikert.
The staff at the SPCA tells us it is possible that some pet owners think their animals can't have fleas this time of year. In this case, the owner of the dogs may now face charges including animal cruelty and neglect.
"It's possible, yeah, but I didn't think it was as likely,” said Brenda Neufer from Linden.
"They are not aware that they need to treat in the wintertime because they think where it's freezing you don't need to treat, but you do," said Carmen Danley.
Carmen Danley owns Furry Friends in Jersey Shore. Some of the pooches she grooms do have fleas. Fleas can survive outdoors until temperatures drop to about 35 degrees, but Danley says her customers often don't realize that fleas can find their way indoors during the winter.
"They are going to get in to a house where it's warm and they survive, lay their eggs, and reproduce," said Danley.
If your pet is itching and scratching, it may not be fleas, but the SPCA recommends you bring them to the vet just in case.
As for the three dogs, they are being cared for at the Lycoming County SPCA.