TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - A shocking case of animal cruelty. Two people are facing charges after a dog that was emaciated and chained up outside in the cold was found dead.
According to a cruelty investigator at the Toledo Area Humane Society, Valentina Slaughter and Michael Bivens are both facing multiple counts of animal cruelty. If they're convicted they could face jail time and fines.They are due in Toledo Municipal Court Thursday morning.
Just hours after the first calls came in about the dog in late November, Cruelty Investigator Megan Brown found him dead, "As malnourished as he was and the fact that he was out in low temperatures was enough to kill him. On the body score chart you rank them on a scale of 1-9, and he was probably a 2. It is extremely frustrating that that this kind of thing is still happening in our community."
According to Brown both Slaughter and Bivens have been charged with leaving the dog in the cold with no access to food, water or shelter. It is also illegal to chain a dog up in Toledo for more than a half hour at a time. Brown says they are now focused on the prosecution of the case, "For me it's about getting justice for the dog, it's really all I can do."
Stephen Heaven is the President and CEO of the Toledo Area Humane Society, "I don't think it ever gets easier. I've been doing this for 26 years, and seeing something like this still has the same impact on me that it did the very first time I saw it."
Heaven says these cases are a big focus of the humane society's enforcement work, "This is not a problem unique to Toledo, it is throughout the country. Most of the animals we seize are on chains, so we see this on a regular basis."
Jean Keating heads up the Lucas County Pit Crew. A lot of the dogs the rescue group takes in have been abandoned abused and starved. Just like all the other cases, she says this one is heartbreaking, "That didn't happen to that dog overnight. That takes a long time, and it is extremely painful to stave to death. Chances are the dog actually froze that night."
She says this case was the springboard for a community meeting, "Nobody wants to live in a city where you drive around and see dogs starving on the ends of chains, it has to stop. We can't continue to have dogs die like this in our community."
All the rescue groups are quick to point out that there's a lot of help available if you need it, "We need to come up with a way to help people. A lot of people just need some education or a little help with things like food. Please pick up your phone and call someone if you need help and your worried about your animals. You should also call someone if you see someone else's animal in need of help."
For example, Humane Ohio operates a free pet food bank at it's Toledo low-cost spay/neuter clinic. A number of organizations offer educational programs. If you need help, reach out to a rescue group or humane society in your area.
Back to that meeting about chained dogs and the law. It's December 14th at 6:30 at the Lucas County Pit Crew training center on McCord Road. The meeting is open to everyone and representatives from the humane society, Lucas County Canine Care and Control, The Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Pit Crew will be there to talk about the issue.