IRONTON, Ohio — Lawrence County Ohio authorities are investigating a gruesome case of animal hoarding where more than fifty dogs that had been “rescued” by a hoarder were found, dead or starving in an Elizabeth Township home where the man had died.
Some of the dogs had starved to death; and others had taken the only measure left for them to survive. "Some of his body had been eaten," neighbor Charlie Jenkins said.
When the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office responded to a request by neighbors to check on the man because they hadn’t seen him for a while, deputies found his body upstairs and said he’d been dead “for at least a couple of weeks,” , according to KSL.com.
Lawrence County Dog Warden Benny Call said he'll never forget what he saw. "I've been to a lot of bad situations since I've been here," he said. "I believe this was the worst."
Eight dogs were taken back to the Lawrence County Dog Shelter in Ironton. “There are still a few dogs that lived in the home that haven't been rounded up yet,” Call added.
Many of the dogs were in such bad shape they had to be put down. The floor of the home was covered in trash, feces and urine. “It hurts when you see a dog like that," Call said.
The Dog Warden said his agency had tried to help with the dogs, but the man always turned them away. "He didn't want our help," Call said. "He'd just run us off if we went out there.”
Several cats were found in a trailer on the property. Some of them had died also.
The man lived alone and authorities have not been able to identify any relatives to notify. "He just wanted to be by himself all the time, just be with his dogs," his neighbor said.