Updated 4:25pm Monday, February 14th:
Animal cruelty investigators say the six dogs left out in the cold with no food or water for days are doing well.
All the dogs are being checked out by veterinarians. Investigator William Carr says vets are taking a very close look at the mother dog to see if she may be pregnant. Carr says she's an older dog, and possibly inbred, so there are some health concerns for her if she is actually pregnant.
All six of the dogs are on a regimented diet. Carr says they had been starving for so long, they have to be slowly introduced to food again. The dogs are being cared for at the Cortland County SPCA.
No criminal charges have been filed so far.
A mother dog and her five puppies were taken from a Town of Harford residence on Friday after a Cortland Community SPCA investigation found that the dogs had been left in an outdoor kennel for at least six days with out any food or water in below freezing conditions.
"I honestly expected to find dead animals or something along those lines," said Animal Cruelty Investigator William Carr.
According to investigators, the owners live in the town of Scott and had not lived in the town of Harford residence for more than a month after the place was condemned. The dogs have been signed over to the Cortland County SPCA where they are being cared for and being evaluated.
"It was a miracle the dogs survived in the temperatures Cortland County has been having, especially being very short haired Labrador/Spaniel mix breed and without food and water," Investigator William Carr said.
Carr said there were three dog houses in the kennel, but they did not provide protection from the freezing weather. He said he believes the dogs huddled together for warmth to stay alive. One puppy has signs of possible frostbite, according to investigators.
The investigation is ongoing. Carr said the former owners, who gave up their rights to the animals, have not been charged, but could face six counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in the future. After they are evaluated, investigators says the dogs will be available for adoption at the Cortland County SPCA.
Carr said there's an important lesson to be learned from a case like this -- you don't have to own an animal.
"Before you take on that responsibility, you should count the costs and know what you're getting in to."