A Springfield Township woman’s home was condemned, and she could face animal-cruelty charges after authorities removed more than 50 animals Thursday.
The Toledo Area Humane Society, with assistance from the Lucas County Sheriff’s Department, executed an emergency warrant at 651 S. Crissey Rd. Gary Willoughby, executive director of the humane society, said an investigator had been working with the tenant and animal owner, Jennifer Davenport, for several weeks.
“We've offered a lot of suggestions on improving those animals’ care, and she didn't follow any of those,” he said.
The humane society removed 41 birds of varying species, including chickens, ducks, and a turkey. Authorities also removed eight cats and kittens, three rabbits, two pot-bellied pigs, and two dogs. Most of the animals were kept inside the single-story house and attached garage.
The property is owned by Pheasant Run Development, LLC. A Sylvania attorney listed on state records as the registered agent for the business did not return a call from The Blade.
Ms. Davenport said she has rescued animals for about five years, taking in those that are unwanted and nursing them back to health. She said the animals were being well cared for, despite her personal health problems, which she said have put her on bed rest.
“There was nothing wrong with them,” she said.
The humane society had visited Wednesday evening to conduct a wellness check on a gelding that was found face-down in a ditch, unable to get up.
“We were here for about five hours trying to get it to stand up,” Mr. Willoughby said.
He added that the horse was underweight and had a multitude of injuries, both old and new. Mr. Willoughby said it appeared the “very dehydrated” horse went into the ditch in search of water, but collapsed and had no strength to get back up.
After calling an equine veterinarian to the scene, they determined that horse had to be euthanized.
Ms. Davenport said she had gotten the horse about two weeks ago, and he had gained weight and improved under her care, though he was old and had severe arthritis.
Authorities also seized a mare, which had been kept in a garage and which Ms. Davenport said she had gotten just a day or two earlier.
Mr. Willoughby said the humane society had planned to continue to work with Ms. Davenport to improve the care for the rest of her animals, but learned early Thursday morning that she had allegedly removed an estimated dozen or so dogs and cats and was attempting to sell chickens. The organization immediately sought the warrant.
The owner said she did not remove any animals from her home. She also claimed she has not seen any paperwork from the humane society, and that the organization had not talked to her about why she was being investigated.
Aside from the one horse, the animals appeared to be in decent shape, Mr. Willoughby said, but conditions inside the house were unsanitary. The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department inspected the house Thursday and found the conditions inside unfit for human habitation.
Mr. Willoughby said Ms. Davenport could face charges, particularly for the horse that had to be put down. The animals will be examined by veterinarians and are being cared for in foster homes while the case continues.
Ms. Davenport said she is “very frustrated” and believes she has been poorly treated. She plans to seek the return of the animals.
By Alexandra Mester - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)
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