ELYRIA — The cases of the two owners of the 21 cane corsos seized in a July raid have been sent back to Lorain Municipal Court after a Lorain County grand jury returned misdemeanor indictments.
Lauren Souris, 36, of Olmsted Falls, and Cornelius Charlton, 44, of Lorain, each were indicted on 44 second-degree misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals by a Lorain County grand jury, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. In July, Souris and Charlton were charged with 21 counts of cruelty to companion animals after the Lorain County dog warden and Lorain Police Department seized the 21 dogs in a raid July 17.
After multiple court appearances, Souris and Charlton were scheduled to go to trial on the matter in early October. In late September, though, prosecutors with the city of Lorain changed the charges on Souris and Charlton from misdemeanor to felony and the case was bound over to the grand jury.
Defense attorney Jack Bradley, who represents Souris and Charlton, has said he believed the charges were amended because prosecutors thought his clients were running a kennel.
He also has said there were no allegations his clients tortured the animals.
Since the grand jury elected to not indict Souris and Charlton on felony counts, the case will now be sent back to Lorain Municipal Court.
Lorain police received an anonymous tip July 17 concerning the welfare of the animals in an apartment at 1703 E. 28th St. After the situation was checked by police, a search warrant was secured and 21 cane corsos were seized and taken to Friendship Animal Protective League in Elyria.
The dogs were left alone in the unventilated, un-air-conditioned apartment and were without water when they were found by law enforcement, police have said.
Greg Willey, the executive director of Friendship APL, has said some of the dogs need medical attention, such as surgery on their eyes, which can’t be provided while the case is unresolved.
Many of the dogs are now being cared for in foster homes while the case works its way through the system.