Monday, March 15, 2010

Kathy Witzman, Humane Sanctuary Inc., - Gustavus, Ohio

Mar 15, 2010: Animal Welfare League Gets Help with Seized Animals
The Animal Welfare League has received a $2,000 grant to help pay for the care of more than 180 animals seized in the Gustavus animal hoarding case.

The American Humane Association announced the award Monday.

In total, 162 dogs, 18 cats, two horses and several ducks and chickens were seized during a Feb. 12 raid at the Gustavus home of Kathy Witzman.

During the raid, humane officials said they found pets chained or stacked in crates in a barn along with 50-gallon drums filled with animal corpses. In the owner's home, the floors were caked in feces and smelled of ammonia, they said.

Witzman pleaded no contest to a charge of animal cruelty, was fined and may not own or possess animals for five years..."

Feb 16, 2010: Animal rescue saves 200+ animals from an Ohio animal sanctuary
By Stephanie Dearing
It was described as good intentions having gotten out of control. On Friday and Saturday, officials removed 162 dogs, 2 horses, 18 cats and an uncounted number of ducks, geese and chickens from an animal sanctuary in Ohio.
Trumball County, Ohio - 58 year old Kathy Witzman was arrested by police, and now faces up to 200 counts of cruelty to animals and one felony charge. The rescued animals are currently being checked by veterinarians to determine their condition, but authorities said one dog has died since the seizure, and another dog had to be put down. While officials knew they were going into a bad situation, they said they didn't know how bad it was. Police said they found a 55 gallon drum on Witzman's property filled with animal bodies, which resulted in the felony charge for Witzman. Some dogs were kept in small cages while others were tethered on short chains.
The animals are being kept in a warehouse until placements can be found for them. All the dogs will be evaluated for temperment before being adopted out. The Animal Welfare League worked with the Sheriff's Department to rescue the animals. The League has asked for help from groomers, animal handlers, and the public is asked to donate money, blankets and towels to help care for the animals.

The raid and rescue took place on Friday. Witzman operated a no-kill animal shelter that she called Humane Sanctuary Inc. The rescue took place after an investigation and weeks of planning. When officials arrived on Friday morning, they found Witzman's 97 year old mother living in the home, which they said was "deplorable conditions, filth, feces and animals living in there including two dead dogs that the others were feeding off of because they were huntry" said Barbara Busko, who is with the Animal Welfare League. Detective Harold Firster said.

"The dog feces had caked the floor almost like a carpet and the smell of ammonia was so pungent that it was very difficult getting the 97-year-old mother out of the house."...More