Brothers plead guilty in Chihuahua hoarding case

Posted By elaine on August 13, 2012

PA Dog Wardens load cages full of dogs into trucks, after nearly 200 chihuahuas were rescued from Columbia County by the PA Dept. of Agriculture, at the Farm Show Complex Friday July 20, 2012. (Photo: Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)

PA Dog Wardens load cages full of dogs into trucks, after nearly 200 chihuahuas were rescued by the PA Dept. of Agriculture, Friday July 20, 2012. (Photo: Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)

MILLVILLE, Pa. – Two brothers accused in one of the worst cases of animal hoarding in Pennsylvania history have pleaded guilty to animal cruelty less than a month after 185 Chihuahuas were seized from their home.

Thomas and Albert Ambrosia of Benton, about 30 miles west of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded guilty this week to two counts each of cruelty and a dog-law violation, according to Columbia County court records.

PA Dog Warden holding one of nearly l200 chihuahuas by the PA Dept. of Agriculture. (Photo: Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)

PA Dog Warden holding one of nearly l200 chihuahuas by the PA Dept. of Agriculture. (Photo: Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)

Thomas Ambrosia, 59, said it was difficult for them to enter a plea because they “treated the dogs like our boys and girls.” But he told the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise that he and Albert Ambrosia, 54, wanted “to get this behind us.”
Veterinarians who checked the Chihuahuas and two other dogs also removed from the house found no serious health issues, only minor eye, teeth, and skin problems, and officials said the dogs apparently came from a loving home.

Acting on multiple tips, state dog wardens and state troopers executed a search warrant last month. They found the corpses of 30 Chihuahuas in a freezer, but the dogs apparently had died of natural causes.

State law requires anyone who keeps, transfers, or boards more than 25 dogs to obtain a kennel license and be inspected annually. Dogs also are required to have dog licenses and rabies vaccinations.

Thomas Ambrosia said the brothers had applied several times for a kennel permit but had been denied. He said he and his brother still had 10 older dogs.

The brothers were fined more than $500 as part of their guilty pleas. One cruelty count involved neglect of a male coonhound with an open sore on its leg, and the other involved a long-haired Chihuahua with large mats in its hair.

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