The Toledo Area Humane Society executed a search warrant Monday at a North Toledo home where city police said they discovered numerous dogs living in deplorable conditions last week, but when officers arrived, no animals were found.
Police had estimated 30 or more dogs were in the house in the 3100 block of Chase Street when they executed a drug-related search warrant last week. But occupant Tammy Buchanan told humane society officers Monday she had owned 12 adult dogs and two litters of five puppies each ages 3 and 4 weeks but gave seven adults and all the puppies away over the weekend after people who had seen local news coverage of the case asked her for them.
Toledo police officers and the Toledo Area Humane Society follow up on an animal welfare complaint on the 3000 block of Chase Street in Toledo on Monday, February 12, 2018.
“People asked for them, so I gave them to them,” Ms. Buchanan said.
During the police search Thursday, several dogs reportedly attacked the officers, resulting in five being fatally shot. Police then contacted the humane society to follow up on the matter.
Because there are no animals remaining, the humane society cannot take further action beyond monitoring the house and the owner.
“We were unable to establish where these dogs have gone,” said Stephen Heaven, the society’s president and chief executive. “Unless we get some information of where the dogs might be, there’s not a lot else we can do at the moment.”
Ms. Buchanan said she loves her dogs and has never mistreated them, accusing the police officers who served the drug warrant last week of exaggerating and lying.
“They was fat and healthy,” she said. “I’d never hurt them. I did not hurt them.”
Police said in a statement last week that “dog feces covered the residence and veteran officers described the scene as the worst living conditions they have ever seen.”
Tammy Buchanan speaks to Toledo police officers and Toledo Area Humane Society officers during a follow-up on an animal welfare complaint on the 3000 block of Chase Street in Toledo on Monday, February 12, 2018.
Cell phone video taken by officers last week and turned over to the humane society shows debris and feces covering the floors inside the home last week, Mr. Heaven said. The humane society used the video to obtain the search warrant Monday.
The city Division of Code Enforcement on Monday declared the property, owned by Inverse Asset Fund LLC of Austin, Texas, unfit for human habitation. The owner has 72 hours to make corrections to or vacate the property. A posted notice was visible on the home’s front door.
Gene Boros, a cruelty investigator with the humane society, said he had previously visited the property in August on an anonymous complaint. Ms. Buchanan willingly showed him five adult dogs, but did not allow him inside.
“The dogs looked healthy and I didn’t see or smell anything at the time” that would indicate inappropriate living conditions, he said. “There was nothing at that point that dictated the need for a warrant.”
On Monday’s visit, the humane society noted it appeared Ms. Buchanan had made progress in cleaning up the house’s first floor, but the second floor remained in the same condition as it had been in the police video from last week. A number of full garbage cans and garbage bags were outdoors in front of the home.
Ms. Buchanan has 12 current Lucas County dog licenses on file, according to records from the Lucas County Canine Care & Control. After Thursday’s search warrant, she was charged in Toledo Municipal Court with misdemeanor use or possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia after officers found a pipe. She is to appear in court for arraignment Feb. 22.
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