PATRIOT — The Gallia County Canine Shelter, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of the United States partnered to rescue about 70 dogs and three horses Thursday from potentially dangerous and unsanitary living conditions on a property along Wagoner Road.
According to Gallipolis Municipal Court records, Jackie Morgan, 57, of Wagoner Road, has a pending Gallipolis Municipal Court case regarding the reported second-degree misdemeanor crime of animal cruelty.
Gallia County deputies served a search warrant at Morgan’s property around 8 a.m. Morgan surrendered animals to the sheriff’s office and others have been taken from the property by the sheriff’s office barring the result of final court decisions.
Laurie Cardillo, Gallia County dog warden, said she has collected animals from the location in the past and said the residence has reportedly been an ongoing problem for roughly the last two years. After taking reports from neighbors of Morgan in regards to loose dogs killing animals on their property, Cardillo reached out for help.
“I feel very fortunate to have them (the Humane Society of the United States) with us here today,” Cardillo said, “because without them, there is no way we could have handled this, not on the county level.”
Cardillo said she has returned to the property about once a week for the last year and a half to deal with animal complaints. She said she believed the Gallia Canine Shelter had taken a minimum of 40 dogs from the Morgan residence last year.
The Daily Tribune was on the scene as dogs were collected from the residence. Some were reportedly trapped in safety kennels, roaming the property or removed from an abandoned trailer and shed. Some dogs were inside the residence itself and enclosures about the property. The smell of ammonia and sewage was strong around the structures and a number of puppies, as well as adult animals, could be found. Some animals had patchy spots of hair or signs of poor health. HSUS responders reported high ammonia levels in the structures.
Animals had limited access to food and water and in need of urgent veterinary care. Veterinarians Dr. Michelle Gonzalez, of Rascal Animal Hospital, and Dr. Jennie Hayes were on scene to deliver emergency fluids. Dr. Brian Hendrickson, of Riverbend Animal Clinic, was also available to see to the health of the horses collected — the youngest of which was 4 months old. The mares were respectively guessed to be 5 years of age and 18 years of age. Handlers said it was their opinion the horses seemed to have had little traveling experience and were anxious. It took about one hour to get them moved into a trailer for transport. Handlers said the animals appeared underfed. Horses were to be taken into the temporary care of Autumn Thomas.
The dogs were taken to an undisclosed location for closer medical examination and emergency veterinary care.
“Probably once the investigation is complete, we’ll refer (case information) to either the (Gallipolis) City Solicitor or (Gallia) prosecutor and see what their recommendation is (on whether charges are filed),” said Gallia Sheriff Joe Browning. “One thing we want to stress is that we do get calls to assist the dog warden and to check on other animals, and we handle those calls as efficiently as we can with the manpower that we’ve got. It’s always good to have the assistance of a professional organization that’s willing to come in and independently assist us in documenting so that the prosecutor or solicitor have the opportunity to look at (information) and make decisions.”
“With the summer heat and given the unsafe and unsanitary conditions, there was an urgent need to help these animals right away,” said Corey Roscoe, Ohio state director for The HSUS. “We’re grateful to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and Dog Warden’s Office for taking action with us to help these animals.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.