2 Jeannette neighbors charged with neglect of animals

Renatta Signorini, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 7—Two Jeannette neighbors were charged Tuesday with neglect of animals after five pit bulls were found without water last year and infected with parasites, according to court papers.

Investigators said the animals belonged to Dale A. Shaw, 65, and Elaine Decker, no age available, was their caretaker. Both live on Chestnut Street.

The animals were discovered July 23 after police were called to Shaw's property when one of the dogs broke free from its chain and attacked another dog, according to court papers. Shaw was notified to take the injured animal to a veterinarian, but failed to do so, police said.

Officers instructed Decker to do the same, but she didn't, according to court papers. The animal eventually was taken to a Monroeville animal hospital and Shaw ordered it be euthanized about three days later, police said.

A wellness check Aug. 3 on the five remaining dogs found that their living space was littered with rocks, debris, feces and broken glass and the animals were infested with fleas and other parasites. The dogs didn't have any water, according to court papers.

Decker told investigators she could not physically or financially care for the animals. Police could not reach Shaw and authorities removed the dogs from the property Aug. 10, according to court papers.

Neither Shaw nor Decker could be reached. Attorneys for them were not listed in online court records. The charges were sent by summons. Preliminary hearings are set for May 20.

Animal cruelty charges in connection with the same incident were filed against Shaw in September and later dismissed by District Judge Joseph DeMarchis, according to Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Ranger. The accusations were refiled after further investigation, she said.

Shaw was arrested in 2002 in connection with a large-scale dog fighting ring that arranged bouts between pit bulls in basements around the area. State police seized nine pit bulls from him then, according to Tribune-Review archives. The outcome of the case was unclear in online court records.

He is awaiting trial on attempted homicide and related offenses after police said he fired a gun at a neighbor on Dec. 12, 2019, according to online court records. Shaw lives in the same house where two of four teenagers were shot by his son in March 2016 as they tried to break in through a window that held an air conditioner. The teens were charged and Cody Shaw was never arrested. Residents can be protected by the state's Castle Doctrine, a law that permits people to use deadly force when they fear for their lives or property.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@triblive.com or via Twitter .