LOUISVILLE, Ohio — A Stark County grand jury is scheduled to hear evidence next week in an ongoing investigation of a beloved service dog that mysteriously vanished in June after being left with a Louisville dog trainer.
Nineteen-year-old Grace Kolich trusted Ohio Pet Resort with her 15-month old golden retriever that she hoped would receive additional training.
Instead, owner and trainer Mathew Cox told her "Benny" had escaped through a narrow gap in the fence that appeared too small for a 75-pound dog to squeeze through.
An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation first reported Benny's disappearance, prompting an enormous outcry on social media.
In the following weeks, both Stark County Sheriff's Office deputies and humane society investigators searched the property for any evidence connected with the dog's disappearance.
Late Friday, 50 citations related to failure to license dogs and failure to comply with state rabies vaccinations were issued.
Separately, a grand jury is expected to hear the case to determine if criminal charges should be filed related to Benny’s disappearance and the treatment of other dogs at the facility.
Meanwhile, Bob Frost, the former owner of the facility who sold it to Cox last year, returned Friday morning to voluntarily help rescue at least 19 other dogs that remain after Cox packed up and left town Thursday night.
Frost said Cox has been removed from the property and ownership reverted to him.
"We are here today," said Frost. "Trying to fix up this mess and get the dogs back to health and find them good homes."
Conditions inside and outside the facility are "deplorable," according to Frost, with feces covering the floors inside and cages that were unkempt and dogs that appeared abandoned.
Kolich returned to the facility Friday to help clean up, as part of a healing process that will never heal the wounds left by Benny's disappearance.
"It needs to be done for the sake of the animals," said Kolich.
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