MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — Michigan City Police issued a press release after removing numerous dogs from a home on South Woodland Avenue Monday afternoon stating most of the dogs were unable to stand or walk and were living in dangerous conditions.
The investigation began during a “code enforcement sweep” where code enforcement officers came across the home located in the 200 block of South Woodland Avenue where neighbors reported numerous dogs barking in the home and a stench that was “perforating the neighborhood”.
Animal Control Officers responded to the home during the investigation where they made contact with a woman living in the home, however, she refused to allow officers into the home to further investigate and would only speak to them through a window.
Animal Control Officers Jason Speakman and Julie Holbrook noted the foul odor emitting from the home and estimated that there were eight or more dogs living in the household, exceeding the city ordinance that states a resident may only have a maximum of three dogs living in the household.
The woman reportedly admitted to Speakman and Holbrook that the dogs did not have city licenses nor rabies tags at that time.
During their visit, Speakman and Holbrook issued 24 citations to the homeowner, 8 for neglect of an animal, eight for no city tags, and eight for no rabies tags. After issuing the citations, the homeowner refused to sign the citations.
On July 27, Michigan City Police received a call from the LaPorte County Adult Protective Services Unit stating that the homeowner located at that address was found on her back porch and was taken to the hospital where she was admitted and listed in serious condition after medical staff found her covered in urine, feces, maggots, and lice.
Michigan City Police Detective Greg Radiger obtained a search warrant for the home which was executed Monday afternoon.
During the search, Radiger and Animal Control Officers discovered 35 dogs, including one that was found deceased, living in the home.
Each dog was medically assessed by Dr. Rex Bailey from the Michigan City Animal Hospital where they found that most of the dogs were unable to walk or stand due to their condition.
The dogs were subsequently counted, tagged, and removed from the home to be taken to medical facilities and area shelters.
Lt. Tim Richardson from the LaPorte County HIDTA Drug Enforcement Unit assisted in the removal with a team of agents wearing hazmat suits and breathing apparatuses.
Due to the stench, the risk of fleas, and other animal carrying diseases, Chief Randall Novak with the Michigan City Fire Department arrived to provide more hazmat suits and breathing gear for all officers.
Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek issued a statement thanking Dr. Rex Bailey for not only assisting with the removal but also for closing down his business in order to assist and provide additional medical staff for the animals.
Due to the number of animals, the LaPorte County Animal Shelter and the Michiana Humane Society also assisted in removing the animals.
“We are pleased to say, however, that even though this is an unfortunate incident with the inhumane treatment of these animals, the homeowner has agreed and signed off ownership where these animals will be treated and potentially adoptable,” stated Sgt. Chris Yagelski in the statement released.
The homeowner is currently under medical care due to her injuries. No information on whether or not any criminal charges will be filed has been released at this time.
The Michiana Humane Society is asking for donations to help care for the animals rescued from the home. Donations can be made HERE.