YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The suspected animal hoarding case at a Lordstown home where over 49 animals were removed is just the latest in what seems to be a growing problem in the Valley.
“In the last nine months, it seems like we’ve had more cases than we’ve ever had before,” said Mary Louk, President of Animal Charity Humane Society.
Over the past two days, humane agents removed 11 dogs, 30 cats, guinea pigs, ferrets, a rabbit and a lizard from the home on Salt Springs Road.
“These animals all were in good condition, other than living in an environment that’s not healthy with ammonia levels just due to not being able to keep up with the cleaning,” said Greg Miller with the Trumbull Animal Cruelty Task Force.
Trumbull County’s Chief Executive Dog Warden Gwen Logan says the ammonia levels were so high, it was toxic for both humans and animals.
No one has been charged in this case, but Animal Charity investigates cases like it in Mahoning County.
Louk says that since December, they have investigated six cases, resulting in the seizure of 53 dogs and 61 cats.
Investigators think there’s more out there.
“Most of these people, they’re not bad people, it’s just that they really, you know, there’s some type of an issue there…a mental or emotional issue that causes them to do this and they don’t mean to hurt the animals,” Louk said.
According to the ASPCA, there are several signs that may indicate someone is hoarding animals:
- They have numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in their care
- Their house is deteriorated (dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in the wall and floor, extreme clutter)
- Strong ammonia smell and the floors may be covered with feces, urine, vomit, etc.
- Animals may be emaciated, lethargic and not well-socialized
- Fleas and vermin are present
- The individual may be isolated from the community and appear to neglect himself or herself
- The individual insists that all of their animals are happy and healthy, even when there are clear signs of distress and illness
As the investigation continues in Trumbull County, animal rescues and the dog pound are now tasked with finding homes for the animals.
“These animals were cared for. They’re not malnourished, they’re not feral. They’re all adoptable animals and are in good shape,” Miller said.
Logan says that four of the dogs removed from the home Monday have already been adopted.