By: Melanie Williamson
The Erie County Sheriff’s department is currently investigating four malnourished dogs found in a Vermilion Township barn. According to the incident report, Deputy Craig Ritz responded to a caller concerned for the welfare of dogs in a barn in the 13000 block of West Lake Road. The caller, a care taker for the property, later explained that the barn is rented, and he did not believe anyone had come to check on the dogs in several days.
Upon arriving at the property, Ritz reported he walked around the property and it did not appear that anyone was home. He reported he could hear several canines in the barn and the sliding door on the side of the barn was pulled away enough that he could see inside. He saw two dogs chained to posts in the barn and two more in large cages. He reported that they all appeared to be very skinny and he could see their rib cages.
At that point, Ritz entered the barn to see if the dogs had access to food or water. He reported there were water buckets next to each dog but they were all empty and there was no dog food found in the barn. Ritz left the barn to find a water source to get the dogs water, but was unable to find one.
Ritz contacted the Erie County Dog Warden Barb Knapp, who responded to the property. Once a signed search warrant arrived, Ritz and Knapp entered the barn again. After checking on the dogs, Knapp declared them to be malnourished and took possession of them to be transported back to the Erie County Dog Wardens Office to be cared for and checked by a veterinarian.
Ritz attempted to contact the property owner, but was advised that he was out of town and did not have access to his tenant information. According to the report, the property owner shared that he only knew the tenants first name, but would contact the sheriff’s office when he was able to get the rest of the tenant’s contact information. The sheriff’s department is continuing their investigation into who owns the dogs.