EASTLAKE, Ohio — Nearly 100 dogs and cats were removed from the Eastlake Animal Rescue Center Thursday for filthy conditions, including fleas, the smell of urine and animals with open wounds. The animals were seized by Eastlake police, and taken to the Lake County Humane Society.
Since 2011, the Lake Humane Society had received multiple complaints of dehydration, poor care and even unfed animals.
Director of the shelter, Lee Nesler, said this time, they received photos from a "credible source" that the animals were not being cared for properly, and conditions inside the Eastlake center were inhumane and in violation of Ohio's animal neglect laws.
“Kitty litter dust hanging in the air. The smell. The sheets and towels underneath it were dirty," she said. “A combination of urine, feces. So, it brings a very strong, pungent odor, and sometimes it would burn your throat.”
The smell was so strong, it caught the attention of Willoughby Municipal Court on Friday, when they found probable cause for the seizure of these animals, and that they should be housed at the Lake Humane Society while the case in still being investigated.
“We did find that three litters of puppies had Parvo," Nesler said.
Eastlake Animal Rescue Center director Nadine Bechtel tells News 5 none of the allegations are true.
“It’s just breaking out hearts right now. There’s a couple of dogs they took out of here, and they’re just going to -- all the work we put into that -- it’s just going to be just lost," Bechtel said.
Willoughby Courts will make her pay $29,000 every month for as long as her animals are cared for by Lake County.
It costs her about $7,000 to keep the shelter running as is, and fears this will shut her doors for good.
The Lake Humane Society officials released documents from their investigations into the Animal Rescue Center going back to 2011. Read those files below: