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40 dogs removed from Delaware County property after cruelty complaint, owner faces charges – The Columbus Dispatch

The Delaware County Sheriff’s office and the county dog warden removed 40 dogs from an area property Sunday afternoon after receiving numerous reports of animal cruelty, according to the county’s sheriff’s office, dispatchers and a spokeswoman.
The Dispatch has not named the property owner since he has not been charged with a crime as of noon Monday. Delaware County Dog Warden Mitchell Garrett said at a news conference Monday that staff from his office would meet with the county prosecutor later in the day to discuss potential charges.
Garrett said Monday the dogs, currently at the Humane Society and the county shelter, had been living outside on the property in wet, muddy conditions. Most of the dogs are underweight, though not critically, and none are expected to require euthanasia.
None of the dogs are currently available for adoption. Garrett said the county will first pass the dogs to rescues that are equipped to rehabilitate dogs who come from such circumstances.
Initial statements from Garrett revealed that the owner of the dogs was known to animal control officials and authorities for “several years.” The statement also noted that “no one would complete a witness statement that would enable the Dog Shelter staff to act.”
Garrett said authorities made nine previous visits to the home before the owner told them through a lawyer that he would not speak to them or allow them on the property without a warrant or court order. Without a witness willing to provide testimony, the county could not take further action.
Garrett said Monday that officials decided to act on a recent complain made Friday afternoon after a woman agreed to give a witness statement and provide her name. The woman’s willingness to give her name Friday allowed the Sheriff’s Office to take the matter to court and get a warrant for the owner’s property.
“I love dogs myself, and I want to be able to help as many dogs as I can,” Garrett said. “I just have to follow the confines of the law and I need a little bit of help so that I can do a lot.”
It’s not clear why so many dogs were housed on the property, Garrett said. The owner has not told the county what he was doing with the dogs, and Garrett said a search of the property did not uncover any evidence of dogfighting.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture maintains a database of high-volume dog breeders. The owner and the address of the Delaware County property where the dogs were confiscated is listed in the state’s database.
Behind a fence on the property, which sits on a country road flanked by farms, there were about a dozen dirt circles with overturned blue barrels. A number of blue barrels were also seen sitting outside the property in the driveway Sunday evening.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, the Delaware County Human Society, the Morrow County Dog Warden, and Rico Pet Recovery, a nonprofit group dedicated to pet rescue and recovering lost animals, assisted with the removal, Garrett said.
The Humane Society of Delaware County also posted on Facebook that it received numerous calls and complaints about the property.
“We take animal welfare seriously and are actively working the case,” it wrote. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to report it to us and will provide an update at a later time.”
Rico Pet Recovery and the Delaware County Humane Society are organizing donations for the dogs. Rico, which can be contacted at ricopetrecovery.org, dropped blankets off at the county shelter this morning, Garrett said.
“A lot of dogs means a lot of bedding,” Garrett said. “So we were always needing more of those types of things.”
More:State inspection prior to deadly fire at Morrow County ‘puppy mill’ found violations


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