PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Video of a woman allegedly punching, screaming, and cursing at a German Shepherd has led to criminal charges by the SPCA in Luzerne County.
"I was disgusted. That's the best way to put it," Plains Township resident John Mattei said.
In court papers, neighbors told Humane Society officers this was not the only time Karissa Donahue, 31, beat her pet named Olivia, it was just the first time it was caught on camera.
Mattei saw the video on Newswatch 16. He was relieved to hear Donahue was charged with two counts of animal abuse.
"It broke my heart. It really did. My dogs start barking at the window when my car pulls up. They know enough. Animals know affection. They know emotion," Mattei said.
Officials with the SPCA would not comment on camera on Wednesday, as not to jeopardize their case against Donahue.
However, to find out how dogs start the healing process after their abuse, Newswatch 16 spoke with animal rescue experts at Blue Chip Animal Refuge Near Dallas.
Staff there said animals who have been beaten do not just have to recover from their physical wounds, they also have to learn to trust again.
"Even somebody yelling will set these dogs back again because they're so terrified of what's coming next," Marge Bart, founder of Blue Chip Animal Refuge, said.
Animal rescue experts said German Shepherds are one of the smartest dogs breeds out there. It can take them months or even years to recover from the abuse.
"It isn't an easy process because often times they're scared, they're hiding in the corner, they don't want to come out. So it's a lot of love and kindness, giving them treats, little bitty baby steps at a time," Bart said.
Newswatch 16 was there as Olivia was being taken away from Humane Society Officers from Donahue's home on Tuesday.
Neighbors were happy to hear the SPCA is taking care of the dog now.
"The whole area loves their pets, they treat them like family," Mattei said.
Donahue's hearing date has not yet been set.