HUMANE SOCIETY OF SANDUSKY COUNTY Enlarge
FREMONT — A phone call from a woman in distress led Sandusky County sheriff’s deputies to break into her home on U.S. 6 Friday, where they found her unconscious in a chair and some 40 animals in dire need of attention.
The homeowner, who was not identified, was taken to Fremont Memorial Hospital. The Humane Society of Sandusky County — with help from dog wardens from Sandusky, Ottawa, and Wood counties — took possession of 36 dogs, three cats, and a cockatoo. Most were filthy and neglected.
“These dogs want to make you break into tears,” Joanne McDowell, president of the humane society’s board, said. “They’re matted with feces and hair. They’re little tiny dogs and just the saddest things.”
Animal cruelty charges are expected, although none was immediately filed.
A group of groomers was to come to the shelter Saturday to begin cleaning the animals — some so neglected it was hard to tell if they were male or female, Ms. McDowell said. Eight of the dogs were taken to area veterinary clinics because they were dehydrated.
“They haven’t been groomed in forever,” she said. “They’re literally all going to have to be shaved down.”
Chief Deputy Bruce Hirt said the sheriff’s office received a 911 call about 8:35 a.m. from a Fremont woman who said she’d received a phone call from a woman who was moaning. She said she heard what sounded like a baby crying in the background, though deputies now assume it was a dog that she heard. While the caller apparently did not know the woman, she obtained her name and phone number from caller ID and passed it along to the sheriff’s office.
Chief Deputy Hirt said the doors and windows at the house a few miles west of Fremont were locked up tightly when deputies arrived, so they forced entry.
“The people going in had to use air packs because the stench was so great,” he said. “There was feces on the floor. There was feces on the dogs. Some of the animals were sick.”
Deputy Eric Arquette was treated at the local hospital after he was bitten by the cockatoo, Chief Deputy Hirt said.
He did not release the woman’s name, although Sandusky County real estate records show the property is owned by Susan G. Baker. A sign on an outbuilding behind the house said “Puppies for sale,” but humane officials doubt she had been selling dogs recently.
“Years ago she sold dogs, but these dogs you couldn’t have bred if you wanted to,” Ms. McDowell said.
The seizure of dogs comes at a challenging time for the humane society, whose shelter on Port Clinton Road already is well over its capacity. Ms. McDowell said that while foster homes will be needed eventually, the humane society’s greatest need right now is money.
“This is going to cost us a fortune — just spaying, neutering, and giving them shots,” she said. “We don’t need food. We’re fine on food. We need money for veterinary care.”
The humane society accepts contributions through PayPal. For information, contact the Humane Society of Sandusky County at 419-334-4517.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.