Twenty-one dogs seized from a Lorain residence July 17 can move to foster care, following a ruling in Lorain Municipal Court on Aug. 10 while protesters were outside of the building.
Municipal Judge Mark J. Mihok will allow 20 cane corsos and one Brazilian Mastiff to be moved from Friendship APL to go under the care of an animal rescue group.
â€śI think itâ€™s a great stop gap measure to ensure the well-being of the animals,â€ť Mihok said. â€śAnd, I think itâ€™s the best possible steps we can take at this point.â€ť
Cornelius L. Charlton, 44, of Lorain, and Lauren J. Souris, 36, of Cleveland, pleaded not guilty July 24 to 21 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to companion animals.
On July 17, authorities were called to a residence in the 1700 block of East 28th Street following an anonymous tip from a resident, police have said.
The resident, who had been walking past the building, heard dogs barking and could smell a strong scent of dog urine and feces, authorities said.
The Morning Journal was invited inside the house, which had cages lining the walls with barking dogs and an overwhelming scent of feces and urine.
There was no sign of ventilation and no lights on in the house, but about 30 closed jugs of water were on the floor opposite some of the cages, but out of reach of the animals.
Municipal Judge Thomas Elwell had ruled the dogs would remain in the care of Friendship APL due to the condition of the house.
Lorain police officer Rick Broz, who handles dog cases for the city, told the court Aug. 10 that having the dogs in the care of Friendship APL has severely curtailed its operation by taking up about half of the available space for dogs along with other issues.
The dogs seized were used for breeding and were not just family pets, Broz said.
â€śThereâ€™s issues with who is allowed to walk them and get them outside,â€ť he said. â€śAnd thatâ€™s limited to the staff of the shelter, which is overworked.â€ť
Broz said he has evaluated the animals along with a cane corso rescue group regularly, giving them baths and helping them heal from the flea infestations and skin issues the animals had.
Defense attorney Jack Bradley, who represents Charlton and Souris, did not object to the move as long as the dogs stayed in Ohio.
Bradley added a veterinarian who has examined the animals stated they all were in good condition.
â€śWe just hope they are maintained in that body condition while theyâ€™re in foster care so we can move along with discovery,â€ť he said.
The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 7.