WELLSBORO - The heartbreaking case of a puppy left to die in an animal carrier by the side of the road has resulted in an outpouring of support from the public. Now, Animal Care Sanctuary will hold an educational seminar with the Humane Society of the United States at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Tokishi Center, 124 Nypum Drive.
State police arrested Matthew Scott Stone, 27, of Elkland, and charged him with animal cruelty for leaving the young mixed breed dog named "Charlie" inside the carrier along Cummings Creek Road in Farmington Township last fall. The animal's boy was found last month.
He was ordered to appear March 11 before a district magistrate to answer to the charges.
The upcoming seminar will offer instruction on public support for change in animal advocacy law. Members of the public and all animal welfare, law enforcement and dog law entities in and around the area are encouraged to attend.
Special speakers will be Humane Society state directors Sarah Speed and Brian Shapiro, from Pennsylvania and New York state agencies, and an animal abuse liaison, Sgt. Charles Staskiewicz, of the Special Investigations Unit in Harrisburg, said Animal Care Sanctuary manager Wendy Reber.
Refreshments will be served. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Justice for Elsa," a website set up to collect funds to help in the search for the perpetrator was set up by Amanda Doan, of Osceola. The $1,000 collected through the site will be given to those who helped police locate Stone and any other suspects.
Elsa was the name bestowed on the dog, before its gender was known by the website creator.
Following a necropsy on the animal, its age was estimated to be about 4 months.
"Elsa's name was Charlie and she is actually a he," Doan said, "and he has allegedly been at the gravel pit since Oct. 3."
"If a conviction is made, we will work with state police to determine who was responsible for the information that led to the arrest. We raised our goal of $1,000 for the reward fund and that person will receive the money, less the fees, through PayPal. We have continued to collect donations through the reward fund and anything we collect after the $1,000 will be donated to ACS in Elsa's/Charlie's name," she added.
Doan, who is an animal advocate, said her daughter wanted to name the dog Elsa after the queen character in the Disney movie "Elsa," so the website was named for her.
The story broke after what was believed to be a female puppy was found by passerby Judy Farman, of Elkland, on Jan. 19 and blew up on social media, Reber said.
Reber said Farman gave her a description of the puppy, which was mostly black with some tan markings.
Terry Wells, of Elkland, an animal advocate who has animal rescue experience, took photos of the crate, which was latched and upside down about 100 feet or more from the roadway, so it was not visible unless someone walked into the woods.
"My neighbor was driving home from work and stopped to pick up some birch limbs for a craft project she is working on and found the crate with the dead dog inside," she said.
"Someone either threw it back there or took it back there intentionally, where no one could find it."
Farman, an animal lover, said finding the little dog was very traumatic for her.
"I feel so bad this little dog never knew a pair of gentle, loving hands," she said.
"Even if they had dropped it off somewhere so it could find shelter, but to leave it in a cage ...," she said.
Farman, who with her husband has two rescued Airedales, said there are "so many people who would have taken this dog."