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ARL sending out an SOS

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Feb 14 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 05:44:55 PM CST

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is asking for your help.

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County is asking for your help. The league needs an emergency cash infusion to continue caring for 25 animals rescued in a hoarding investigation. Officials say they are already more than $100,000 in the hole.

Behind these cages are animals with a very troubling past.

"They've been in their cages since June. They can never get out....it's inhumane," said Chris Shaughness, director of media & marketing at The Animal Rescue League of Berks County.

For the past eight months, The Animal Rescue League of Berks County has been taking care of 25 cats, two dogs, three gerbils, two rats and a box turtle. The animals were removed from the home of 55-year-old Mary Lou Petrucci. Shaughness stated on Friday that these animal were living in filth inside this house on Mineral Spring Road in Reading.

"Most of them had infections. Eye infections. Some of the cats had to have an eye removed. A lot of them had severe dental disease...they had a lot of teeth extracted," said Shaughness.

According to court documents, Petrucci is accused of hoarding dozens of animals. Back in 2006, she had to pay fines for hoarding more than 40 cats and dogs in Montgomery County. In November of 2012, The ARL was back at Petrucci's home to remove more of her animals. Shaughness stated that The ARL is holding those animals as evidence for Petrucci's trial where she is due in court in April.

Petrucci has also been accused of hoarding more than animals. Last November, police said she was charged with allegedly holding her 72-year-old boyfriend captive for two months. That court date is scheduled for February 25th.

In this hoarding case, the Animal Rescue League has spent well over $100,000 dollars on these animals.

"We wish the whole thing would get resolved. That these animals could be put up for adoption and most of them are very sweet and kind," said Shaughness.

On Saturday, February 16thm the ARL will be holding a dance benefit at Reading Country Club in Exeter Township at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person and include drinks and hors d'oeuvres. The proceeds from this dance will help with The Animal Rescue League's expenses.