ROCHESTER (CBS) – It’s a sight even veteran eyes at the Animal Rescue League haven’t seen too often. Two-year-old Bentley, a pitbull mix, so emaciated his ribs and spine are showing. His companion, a nine-year-old mastiff named Ace, is in better condition but still malnourished.
“It’s shocking, when I saw them for the first time I was shocked,” ARL spokesman Michael DeFina.
The dogs were rescued from a home in Rochester on Wednesday, their conditions even worse just two days ago. They were noticed through the front door by an alert Eversource worker who was at the home to shut off the utilities because the owner was moving.
“It broke my heart,” said Susan Sweeney of Eversource. “The poor dogs were so happy to see somebody which made me believe they were just left there.”
Sweeney says when she went to the door, she could see the dogs in a frail state. Happy to see her.
“I looked in and he was very friendly,” Sweeney said. “He was wagging his tail.”
She immediately called police.
“We noticed inside of the house was full of animal waste, a lot of dog urine and feces. There were a couple of small bowls but no food or water was available,” said Rochester police Sergeant Robert Small.
Police were able to track down the owner 33-year-old Tyrone Mendes, who they say admitted he had fallen on hard times, the dogs were neglected as a result.
“He said he didn’t have money to take care of the dogs properly. It’s too bad he hadn’t reached out for help,” said Sgt. Small.
Bentley weighs only 20 pounds, though rescuers say this time last year he was 30 pounds heavier, an indication of the trauma he has suffered. There was also scarring on his face and around the ears which they believe is the result of fighting over scraps of food with Ace.
While Mendes faces animal cruelty charges, the dogs face more than malnourishment. “When they came here they had a lot of fear and anxiety,” said DeFina.
The goal now is to ease that fear, restore the dogs to health, and find them loving new owners.
Mendes will be summonsed to court at a later date to face the charges.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano and Gary Brode contributed to this report.