ELYRIA — Things were a little chaotic at the Friendship Animal Protective League the day after 21 dogs were seized from a Lorain apartment from what authorities described as inhumane conditions.
Lorain police received an anonymous tip Tuesday morning concerning the welfare of the animals in an apartment at 1703 E. 28th St. After the situation was checked out by police, a search warrant was secured and 21 cane corsos were seized and taken to Friendship APL in Elyria.
For Friendship’s staff, it’s been a difficult adjustment getting the sudden influx of dogs, according to Executive Director Greg Willey.
“It’s devastating. When you get something like this, it’s really, really hard,” Willey said. “It’s very difficult to manage. We were racing dogs all over, trying to find places for dogs to go and make room for these.”
It’s also been challenging for the dogs, Willey said.
“This is overwhelming for them, I’m sure,” he said. “That’s why you need to give them some time to decompress. We have a couple troublemakers in the group that really get everyone else agitated and worked up. Most of them, though, I was able to take out on a leash today.”
The dogs are being kept in separate cages as they adjust to their new surroundings. Willey said many of them are scared and unsure of what’s going on. The staff slowly has been trying to earn their trust.
The dogs’ health conditions vary, with some apparently suffering from cherry eye, conjunctivitis and other ailments. Many also have flea allergies and skin conditions.
“We’ll try to get weights on them today, on the ones we can,” Willey said. “We’ll also get some measurements on them and start to begin certain treatments with some of them. If I can get weights on them, I can get them flea medication and start doing that type of stuff.”
The 13 female and eight male dogs, all adults, appeared to be breeding dogs. Cane corsos are a mastiff-class breed of dog, usually weighing 85 to 120 pounds, but the dogs seized were estimated to weigh 75 to 100 pounds on average.
Willey said Friendship APL usually sees two to three cases of backyard breeders a year, with cases varying from owners breeding animals for profit, to the animals going unchecked and unspayed or unneutered.
Police have not given the names of the owners of the dogs, but have said there is a probable cause hearing scheduled for Tuesday and a judge will determine whether the animals will be returned.
The dogs were left alone in the unventilated, un-air-conditioned apartment and were without water when they were found by law enforcement.
If the dogs are not returned to their owner, the APL will adopt them out depending on each dog’s temperament.
“We know we’ll have them a minimum of until Tuesday, when the case goes to court,” Willey said. “That’s the minimum. Hopefully, after that, they’ll be able to make a determination of what’s next.”
Willey said the shelter would be very appreciative of monetary donations to help with veterinary care for the dogs, canned dog food or even hot dogs and cheese.
“Donations of canned dog food really helps them open up to us,” he said. “It gets them eating. Especially with the real fearful ones, we want to encourage eating.”