By Mike Ullery and Melody Vallieu
Miami Valley Today
CONCORD TOWNSHIP — One hundred and twenty five dogs, living in deplorable conditions, were removed from a Concord Township home on Monday. The removal was the result of what began as a barking complaint.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sarah Fraley said the sheriff’s office was first alerted to a problem at the Peebles Road address when a barking dog complaint was taken last Thursday. Deputies went to the residence and observed the carcasses of two dogs — decaying and unburied — in the yard. After looking into the home, a number of dogs were seen and filthy conditions were observed, Fraley said.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with personnel from the Miami County Animal Shelter, Miami County Public Health, and Miami County Children’s Services, on Monday executed a search warrant at 3365 Peebles Road in Concord Township as a result of what deputies first observed. The search warrant sought evidence of alleged animal cruelty and alleged child endangering due to filthy and unsanitary conditions in the residence, according to a press release from Sheriff Dave Duchak.
At the conclusion of the search warrant, 125 dogs, many being puppies, were seized by the Miami County Animal Shelter.
Fraley, on assignment at the animal shelter while the director is out, said the smell of ammonia (urine) was so strong that those removing the animals could only stand to be inside for a couple minutes at a time, even wearing protective masks. She described the condition of the dogs as having their hair matted in fecal matter. Dogs were found to be living inside some of the furniture, forced to make their own place to sleep, often in the filth and waste, according to Fraley.
Miami County Public Health has condemned the residence due to unsanitary conditions, Duchak said. He said teenage children also were placed in a different residence by Miami County Children’s Services with a safety plan put in place to further monitor their well-being.
Local veterinarians and dog groomers are assisting the animal shelter with the care of the dogs, he said.
On Tuesday, shelter officials, along with about 10 volunteers, were working to bathe the animals. Some of the dogs’ hair was so badly matted that they will probably have to be shaved, Fraley said. Following baths, puppies were being sorted, making every effort to keep them with their mothers, and insuring that un-weened puppies were able to nurse. Older puppies were being separated by male and female while attention is made to see that all of the animals get proper food and plenty of water, Fraley said.
Duchak said the Miami County Animal Shelter is in need of donations of puppy food, dog food, and dog beds. The items can be dropped off at the animal shelter. If the shelter is closed, the items can be left at the front door.
Various rescue groups have been contacted to assist with the dogs and adoptions. The breed of the dogs consists primarily of toy poodles and shiz tzu, Duchak said. Those wishing to adopt a dog can go to the Miami County Animal Shelter website at https://www.co.miami.oh.us/shelter. After an application is completed, it can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fraley said that neighbor complaints regarding the residence go back to at least 2016. The owner of the residence was reportedly a registered American Kennel Association breeder and was paid $800 per puppy.
Duchak said on Wednesday that the homeowner, who has not yet been charged, relinquished the rights to 122 of the dogs. This allows the animals to be re-homed instead of being held as part of the pending case, he said.
“I’ll give her credit for cooperating,” Duchak said. “This frees us up to get the dogs into a home environment.”
He said three of the dogs are special to the homeowner and the teens, and she would not release those animals.
“They will be housed at the the Miami County Animal Shelter and the courts will decide if they receive those three dogs back,” Duchak said.
He said 30 dogs already have been taken by a rescue and a second rescue has taken all of the pregnant dogs.
The investigation continues and the safety and well-being of the animals and children in the home were the first concern, Duchak said.
He said criminal charges will be forthcoming after consultation with the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office.