Justice for Nova: Two animal neglect suspects in custody

  • In US
  • 2023-02-09 02:18:00Z
  • By The Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

Feb. 8-PITTSTON - Almost two years after Pittston City police recovered a severely malnourished dog abandoned on Davis Alley, charges have been filed against two suspects accused of neglecting and abandoning the dog.

In a press conference held Wednesday at City Hall, Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce announced that charges have been filed against Terik Wiggins, 30, and Shaniqwa Scott, 24, for their alleged neglect of Nova, a pitbull recovered by city police from an alleyway on June 8, 2021.

"I'm here with the pleasure of announcing that charges have been filed in the abuse case of the dog that you've probably all come to know as Nova, who is present here today," Sanguedolce said to lead off the press conference, with Pittston City mayor Mike Lombardo and police chief Kyle Shumosic by his side.

Police confirmed that both suspects were in custody later Wednesday afternoon.

The last known address for Wiggins and Scott is listed as Gaylord Avenue in Plymouth.

Details provided in the criminal affidavit filed against Wiggins and Scott shed light on the deplorable conditions that Nova was found in, and to how investigators from Pittston City and the DA's office were able to identify the suspects.

According to the criminal complaint:

Nova was first recovered in June of 2021, after officers from Pittston City were dispatched to Davis Alley after receiving reports of a dog abandoned in a crate. The dog appeared to be severely malnourished and unkempt.

The SPCA of Luzerne County took custody of the dog the next day, taking it to the Shoemaker Animal Hospital in Wyoming, where care was administered by Dr. Sara McGarry.

McGarry's report indicate that Nova was found to be suffering from severe emaciation, severe dermatitis, a severe ear infection, fleas, hookworm, angular limb deformity, severely overgrown nails and anemia.

It was McGarry's conclusion, according to the criminal affidavit, that the dog could have died if not for the medical care administered at the animal hospital.

Investigators began canvassing security cameras from nearby residence to see what they could find.

Footage from a Butler Street residence showed a Ford Explorer, determined to be a gold or tan color, make two stops at the Davis Alley entrance off Butler Street on June 7 and 8.

The second time, a passenger exits the vehicle holding an item that fit the description of the pop-up kennel that Nova was found in, walking down the alley with it as the vehicle followed behind.

A short time later, the vehicle backed out of the alley with its lights off, and proceeded east on Butler Street.

Since her recovery, Nova has bounced back remarkably from her emaciated condition, with several employees from Maxwell's House, a local pet care agency, attending the press conference and telling the crowd that Nova has made a "full recovery."

After a time spent working as a therapy dog for the Pittston City Police Department, Nova now resides with former city police chief Neil Murphy, who brought Nova to Wednesday's press conference.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and see Thursday's Times Leader for more on this story.


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