12 dogs taken from Austintown arson house


AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nearly a dozen dogs were taken from a woman’s house that police said was set on fire by her ex-boyfriend.

Humane agents went to the home Friday on S. Navarre Ave. in Austintown and removed 12 dogs there. It is not clear what condition the animals were in .

John Petroff, 41, is charged with setting fire to the house early Wednesday morning after a dispute with a woman who lives there.

Ironically, the woman said it was the barking dogs that alerted her to the fire and she was able to escape unharmed.

Jason Cooke with Animal Charity said 12 dogs were recovered. Animal Charity took a mother dog, seven 2-week-old puppies and another adult dog. The agency already was at capacity when this incident happened.

The Mahoning County Dog Pound took three other adult dogs.

Animal Charity said it is in serious need of foster homes, volunteers and donations to help out.

“The biggest thing we can do now, that we need help with, is volunteers, puppy food, supplies, blankets, dog food, monetary donations,” Animal Charity Human Society President Jason Cooke said.

The fire was right next door to the room the seven 2-week-old puppies were in. Mom carried each one to safety in the home’s basement.

“Evidently, when the fire occurred, the mother actually took the puppies from the upstairs and brought them down to the basement, instinctively knowing that would be the best place for her pups,” Cooke said.

“Seven times she went up and took them away from the fire to get every single one of them. Even when we took her from the van to her cage, as soon as she got into the cage she sniffed around to make sure all seven were there,” Animal Charity Executive Director Shalyse Bolash said. “They are pretty big puppies so I wouldn’t imagine she would be able to carry more than one at a time. She would carry them by their scruff.”

A neighbor alerted humane agents that there was no place for the dogs to go since the house was severely damaged in the fire.

The puppies are just 2 weeks old, so it will be at least six weeks before they will be able to be fostered or adopted. But there also is nearly two dozen other dogs looking for a foster or forever home. Some have been at Animal Charity for more than a year.

Anyone interested in one of the puppies can call Animal Charity and be put on a waiting list.

A moving van was parked outside the home on Friday and it appeared furniture and other contents were being taken from the home.

Petroff was charged with aggravated arson and is in the Mahoning County Jail on $250,000 bond..

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