The head of Ohio's Licking County Humane Society, Lori Carlson, got a call from animal control: they were looking for someone in a condemned home who violated probation and found all these small dogs living in horrific conditions. The people responsible appeared to be hoarders.
All the dogs were infested with fleas, and many appeared to have serious skin infections, Carlson was told. None had been spayed or neutered, and multiple litters of puppies had been found covered in feces, urine and garbage.
“At first, we were told there were about 30 dogs,” Carlson said. “But that number grew to 50. And then after that, we found out there were actually 80.” And she was told they needed to be rescued ASAP.
It took her employees and animal control officers five hours and multiple trips to get the dogs transferred to the Humane Society shelter.
"They’d been breeding and multiplying for a long time,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of rescues over the years, but never one like this.”
Their facility could hold 40 dogs and here were 80 needing rescue.
She said the response from the public was overwhelming from donations for the dogs' medical care to families willing to foster. Several dogs were pregnant or had recently given birth and their pups needed to stay with them.
When medical evaluations are completed for the dogs, Carlson said, she will send the information to the Licking County law director, who would be responsible for filing any criminal charges in the case.
“I’ll be recommending charges of violating companion animal laws in Ohio, with a penalty of up to six months per charge,” she said. “We would like a charge for each animal, so that’s 80 counts.”
Some dogs have already been placed for adoption and one, Mimi, has been adopted.
“They deserve to have families that will treat them with love and kindness,” she said. “As each one came through our door, I gently told them, ‘Your life just got better.’ ”