37 Dogs Found in Poor Conditions

Local News

In the 25 years Executive Director, Larry Hostetler, has been working at the Muskingum County Animal Shelter, he says he thought he’s seen everything, but that all changed when he showed up to a Zanesville residence Saturday afternoon.

WHIZ’s Emily Baird explains why Hostetler is calling the scene he saw at 970 Lent Road the worst case of animal negligence he’s ever seen.

“It was something I never imagined I would see in my lifetime. You see these things on TV and see the horror. It’s really scary when it hits home in your own backyard, ” says Hostetler.

It was around 1:30 p.m. last Saturday when the Muskingum County Dog Pound requested assistance from the Muskingum County Animal Shelter. Hostetler says the Dog Pound didn’t have the means to transport 37 dogs found at the 970 Lent Road home.

“The animals were starved, suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, parasite infestation, and ring worm. They were very ferule. You couldn’t touch them,” says Hostetler.

Hostetler says crews also found dead dogs and evidence that other dogs had been eaten. He says the sights and smells of the home made it a horrible situation.

The 37 dogs were taken to the Animal Shelter and evaluated. Hostetler says he was forced to make a difficult decision, regarding 28 of those dogs.

“They were in such poor condition, the humane thing to do at that time was to euthanize them,” says Hostetler.

One of only a handful of dogs that survived the ordeal is Molly. Hostetler says while she has lost one eye, she’s as lovable and playful as any other dog.

He says it looks as though the incident occurred because the two owners could barely take care of themselves, let alone the animals at their home.

He says neighbors had made numerous calls about the situation, asking for help, but he says the law doesn’t do much to protect animals.

“The law requires them to have food, water, and some type of shelter. It might not be what we think is adequate, but unfortunately, the law says that’s adequate,” says Hostetler.

Hostetler says it wasn’t until one of the owners fell and hurt himself, that EMS responders notified the Dog Pound of the situation. Hostetler says it’s sometimes hard to determine animal negligence or abuse.

“Does the animal look like it’s starving? Do you see food and water bowls? Does it have proper shelter to get in and out of the elements? ” says Hostetler.

Hostetler says if you do see signs of negligence or abuse, contact the Animal Shelter at 740-452-1077.

I’m Emily Baird for WHIZ News.

The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office is still reviewing the case and has yet to decide what if any charges will be filed against the elderly couple.