Investigators: 2 Men Who Intended To Rescue Dogs Actually Stole - KMSP-TV

Investigators: 2 Men Who Intended To Rescue Dogs Actually Stole

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DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. -

Two Delaware County men may have intended to rescue abused dogs and place them in good homes, but police say they were actually stealing dogs from their owners.

One owner tells FOX 29 he felt threatened into giving up his puppy.

Oren Barzski adopted his pit bull puppy "Rocky" from the Philadelphia SPCA. Rocky lived at a used car lot owned by Barzski's family until last November, when he says two men showed up and ordered him to hand over the dog.

Barzski says one of the men told him he was a police officer and his tone was threatening.

"It was kind of like I had to give up the dog, I didn't really have a choice," Barzski said.

Investigators say the men, 37-year-old Russell Harper and 44-year-old Robert Lewis, are now facing charges in connection to taking the dog. FOX 29 attempted to contact Harper on Wednesday, but no one answered his door.

The two run an organization called "Justice Rescue." According to their website, the organization takes animals from the hands of their abusers. Police, however, accuse them of breaking the law.

Rocky may not be the only pet the two allegedly took. Investigators say the pair would sometimes leave behind a fake notice of investigation.

Delaware County Assistant District Attorney Barbara Paul says she takes the issue very seriously and says that while the two men may have good intentions, they aren't above the law.

"As much as we all want to protect animals in the city, you have to do it legally," Paul said.

In Rocky's case, the SPCA tells FOX 29 he was not abused or mistreated and was in good health.

The DA's office wants to hear from any potential victims. If you've had any experience with the men, you're asked to call the SPCA.

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