CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Two former Clearfield County residents face animal cruelty charges after police said their dog died from starvation.
William K. Long, and Kiara L. Gohn, both 21, are accused of going days without feeding their dog and leaving its body in a garbage bag in their home in Clearfield Borough. Police said they claimed the dog was buried in another area in order to avoid a necropsy investigation.
Police said the SPCA contacted them Feb. 26 about an investigation where they believed a dog died due to neglect on the 1000 block of Daisy Street. The SPCA asked police to provide assistance as they went to the residence to seize the other animals.
When they got to the residence, police said they saw multiple plastic wrappers and cigarette butts on the floor. The rabbit cage had a large number of feces inside of it and there was no food or water in the cage, according to the charges filed. When police asked Long and Gohn where their other dog went, they said they left for a few days and the dog was dead when they came back.
On March 3, police went back to the residence to speak with Long and Gohn, who said they left their home Feb. 19 for a funeral and returned the next day when they found their Collie died. They also told police a back window was found open in the apartment and they believe someone entered the apartment while they were away. Police noted there was no evidence of a break-in and it was not reported to the police.
Police asked where the dog’s body was and Gohn said it was buried at Long’s parents’ residence in Apollo, Armstrong County. Gohn provided a written statement for them to get the dog, but a short time later asked police to come back to the home. When they arrived Gohn allegedly pointed to a black garbage bag and said the dog was inside. She said Long would not allow her to bury the dog and it had been at the home the entire time.
The Animal Welfare Council of the Alleghenies conducted a necropsy on the dog, who said the dog was 30 pounds Oct. 3, 2020 when it was spayed. At the time of death, the dog weighed 19 pounds, according to the results. They listed the cause of death as starvation.
Police reviewed records of previous incidents with Long and Gohn. On Oct. 29, 2020, police responded to Long and Gohn’s residence for a report of trespassing, When they were there, Long reportedly admitted to leaving the dog in the cage for four days and that no one was checking in on it. Police noted there were feces in the cage and no water. Dog Law was requested to come to the residence but at that time they ruled the dog was in good health, according to the charges filed. On Nov. 27, 2020, police received a report from a neighbor who said Long and Gohn were gone for at least two or three days and leave the dog locked up and did not feed it.
Court records show Long and Gohn have since moved to Apollo. They were charged by summons with a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 21.