PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ―
A local family pet once considered a hero needed its own rescue after being left to fend for herself for several months in the basement of a Southwest Philadelphia home.
Alfie the German Shepherd made news in 2006 when she alerted her owners their then two-year-old son had climbed onto the roof of their home.
Alfie followed the toddler out of the window and began barking, drawing the attention of neighbors and the child’s sleeping parents. Witnesses said Alfie appeared to be running along the outside edge of the roof to keep the toddler from falling.
Neighbors once again heard Alfie’s barks, but this time they were cries for help. SPCA officers were called to the home after a neighbor heard dog barking in a home believed to be unoccupied.
Alfie was found living in the basement with only two bags of food, no water and feces covering the ground. She was said to be 15 pounds underweight and dehydrated.
The SPCA is investigating as to whether the four-legged hero was abandoned or neglected as it appears the home has been unoccupied for over two months.
SPCA officials told CBS 3 Alfie’s owner, Phillip Redman, was cited and fined in 2004 for animal cruelty.
In the previous charge, Alfie was taken away and then returned after Redman cleaned up the home.
The Pennsylvania SPCA first feared Alfie’s behavior would make it difficult to put her up for adoption, but officials said she is warming up.
“Medically she’s OK. She’s still a little scared,” said Heather Redfern with the Pennsylvania SPCA. “We’re going to have volunteers and staff work with Alfie to try and get her to a place so that when she is out of protective custody, we can send her to a rescue or someplace that she’ll have an awesome life.”
Offers have been pouring in to put the heroic canine in a welcoming home. On Wednesday, SPCA officials said Alfie will be going to foster care with an individual who rescues and trains German Shepherds.
Redman said he wants the canine back and said he didn’t abandon his dog. Redman said his family moved out of the house because of lead problems, but he stopped by the house every few days to care for Alfie.
SPCA officials issued a reminder to owners struggling to provide for their pets that instead of abandoning your animals there are a variety of options available, including adoption and pet food banks.