MOUNT CARMEL - An emaciated pregnant dog was among four pets found in a flea-infested apartment last week in the borough.

The dog has since given birth to a litter of seven puppies, one of which has died.

The discovery by police led to charges of animal cruelty on Tuesday against Belinda Sue Smith, 20, of 18 E. Railroad St., Apt. 1. She was committed to Northumberland County Prison on $20,000 bail and will face a preliminary hearing Aug. 14 before Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones.

Constable Glenn Masser told Borough Police Chief Todd Owens he had placed a warrant notice on Smith's door earlier last week and that it was still hanging there. He also reported a foul odor from inside the apartment.

Owens accompanied Masser in serving a new warrant on Thursday. The door was unlocked, so Owens said he went in and identified himself. No one was home.

The chief said he encountered a small dog that appeared close to giving birth. He said the dogs' ribs, spine and hip bones were easily noticeable because of its thin condition. The animal also had a serious infestation of fleas.

Owens said he continued his safety check for Smith. On the second floor, he found a small kitten that was also malnourished. Owens said he observed numerous piles of animal feces on the floor and on bedding throughout the second floor. He then found a second kitten.

There was no food or water on the second floor, Owens said.

On the first floor, Masser had found another small dog hiding behind an entertainment center in the front room. It was also very thin, Owens said.

Several piles of animal feces were found on the first floor, and two dog bowls were empty and dry.

Borough code enforcement officer Robin Williams condemned the apartment.

Neighbors said they hadn't seen Smith for several days and had not seen the dogs outside in a long time.

Kittens now 'Ed,' 'Fred'

The animals were removed and taken to the St. Francis Animal Hospital for an emergency evaluation, according to Owens, under the direction of the Mostly Mutts animal shelters.

Cheryl Hill, shelter director, reported Tuesday that the two dogs, both females, were emaciated and under the care of the hospital. The pregnant dog delivered Sunday and is being carefully watched, she said.

The two kittens, which Hill said have been named "Ed" and "Fred" by hospital employees, were treated for ear mites and eye conditions, but are eating, drinking and responding to treatment.

All four animals were treated for flea infestation and Hill reports the fleas are gone.

At her arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Smith was charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal attempt related to commit cruelty to animals, two counts of disorderly conduct-creating an offensive condition, and four citations for cruelty to animals

Smith had been cited on June 29 for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct for allegedly picking a fight with neighbors. Smith allegedly smashed their front window, police said in a previous report.