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May 30, 2024

PSPCA looking for homes for 10 former law enforcement, military dogs rescued from neglect

The canines are ready for adoption after recovering from inhumane conditions at a facility in Northumberland County.

Pets Dogs
pspca rescue dog otto Provided Image/PSPCA

Otto (above) is one of 10 former military or law enforcement dogs available for adoption through PSPCA after being saved from a neglectful pet rescue.

The Pennsylvania SPCA is searching for homes for 10 dogs that spent their lives serving others in law enforcement or the military, only to end up being subjected to cruelty in their retirement.

The dogs — mostly German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois breeds — were at the K9 Hero Haven rescue in Herndon, Northumberland County, when authorities found them living in "filth and neglect," according to an Instagram post by PSPCA. 

MORE: 'Sad' cat adopted after PSPCA social media post goes viral

In June, August and February, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which inspects and licenses kennels in Pennsylvania, contacted PSPCA’s Animal Law Enforcement team with concerns about K9 Hero Haven, KYW Newsradio reported. On its website, the K9 Hero Haven nonprofit says its mission is to "provide retired working dogs a home for retirement." The conditions that authorities described could hardly be described as a comfortable environment to rest. 

"The dogs’ kennels were covered in feces and blood & their water bowls were green from lack of cleaning," the PSPCA wrote on Instagram. "Bodies that were once lean and exuded strength now withered away with untreated medical conditions. What was supposed to be a haven for these heroes ended up being the very opposite."

The 28 dogs that lived at the facility previously served on the front lines of war-torn countries, sniffed through major transportation centers and worked closely with law enforcement across the United States, according to PSPCA. They range in age from about 4 to 12 years old. The PSPCA welcomed the dogs, which also included one Labrador retriever, into its care, and the pups worked with medical and behavior teams to heal.  

Last year, Anne Gibbs, the operator of K9 Hero Haven, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges, NBC10 reported. She lost her kennel license. PSPCA officials said they have filed additional charges because Gibbs still owns up to 25 dogs legally.

Many of the dogs taken in by the PSPCA have already found homes, and others were returned to their previous handlers. Some of the dogs sadly passed away, KYW reported. PSPCA is searching for homes for the remaining 10 dogs living at its Philadelphia shelter.

In the past week, PSPCA has spotlighted some of the former military and law enforcement dogs looking for homes. Sosa used to be an explosive detection dog, while Ceaser worked for a contracting agency performing military or government work. Zombie spent years protecting public transportation hubs, but at 11 years old  "deserves the chance to finally rest his tired body." Axxel is a 12-year-old dog that is deaf and developing cataracts, but still "loves to work" and follows the cues of his handler. 

The dogs require families with working dog experience. Interested adopters can email

"Spread their stories to help them finally get the retirement they have been waiting for," the PSPCA wrote on Instagram.

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