Abandoned, malnourished pets becoming more common in Trumbull County

Investigators say some of the cases are related to the area's drug epidemic

Police in Niles have filed charges under Goddard's Law, after they say a man abandoned his dogs, leaving them without food or water.


NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Police in Niles have filed charges under Goddard’s Law after they say a man abandoned his dogs, leaving them without food or water.

John Patterson, 30, has not been arrested, but a warrant has been issued for a prohibitions concerning companion animals charge

The Deputy Dog Warden and police found the dogs inside Patterson’s home on South Cedar Street.

One of the dogs had passed away and weighed only 23 pounds. The other dog, a pit bull, weighed 30 pounds. That dog is now at the Trumbull County Pound.

A veterinarian’s report scored both of the dog’s condition very low and noted both appeared to have a flea infestation.

Niles Police Capt. John Marshall said it’s apparent that they were starving.

“Very emaciated, you could really see the ribs,” he said. “It was clear that they hadn’t eaten in some time.”

Trumbull County’s dog warden is seeing a rise in the number of dogs left abandoned or surrendered to the pound.

The Trumbull County Dog Pound is almost always full.

Thursday, Zeus, a pure-bred German Shepherd, was surrendered to the pound. Deputy Dog Warden Greg Miller said the dog was left at a home in Weathersfield without electricity.

“This is not unfrequent. They find these kinds of animals who certainly need help, who are just at the edge or borderline, where if not cared for or not looked at, could have gone further down south,” said Dr. Sukh Sing, of the Animal Medical Care Center in Niles.

Although investigators can’t say for sure these cases are connected to the heroin epidemic — others, like the three dogs taken from a home on Van Wye in Warren last week, can be connected to drugs.

The dogs they find in those situations are often malnourished.

“This is just a product of what’s going on in the community, is these additional victims of circumstances and of the epidemic are just on the rise,” Miller said.

Capt. Marshall said there are usually multiple victims in the heroin epidemic, not just the drug user.

“That addiction is the primary goal of your day, unfortunately, when you’re an addict, and pets and children are often the first to suffer,” he said.

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John Patterson, of Niles, was charged with prohibition concerning companion animals after a malnourished, dead dog was found in his home.

 

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