Animal cruelty case being investigated


37 dogs seized from DeGraff area residence

Animal cruelty case

A local veterinarian determined that rabbits housed at this 4666 County Road 35, DeGraff, property, were healthy despite living in dirty conditions during an animal cruelty investigation this week at the residence by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office. (PHOTO | LOGAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)



An animal cruelty case is currently being investigated at a property at 4666 County Road 35, DeGraff, after deputies of the Logan County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the residence Tuesday afternoon to at first assist with the transport of a prisoner for the Adult Parole Authority. 

APA officials had located a number of animals outside that were housed in unsanitary conditions in various types of cages and alerted deputies. 

Deputies responded about 2 p.m. and spoke with the homeowner, Auna Lee Hess, 57, and her live-in boyfriend, David E. Schweitzer, 67. 

Hess estimated the total number of animals at the property included 200 rabbits, 200 pigeons, 100 chickens, 10 guineas, 10 peacocks, three goats, 40 to 50 dogs and 20 cats.

Animals housed outdoors included birds, rabbits, goats and horses, along with cats and dogs. 

Inside the home at the property, deputies observed numerous adult dogs and puppies housed in small cages that contained piles of feces. In another room, they noted there were approximately a dozen mastiff puppies and feces covering the floor. 

Dogs seized

In light of these issues, deputies made contact with the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, along with the Shelby County Dog Warden. 

A local veterinarian also responded to check on the well-being of the animals. He reported that while the birds and rabbits were dirty, they appeared healthy and it was a rather common way to house the animals. 

In addition, the veterinarian said the dogs and cats housed outside and inside the home were healthy, but living in unsanitary conditions. He recommended the dogs and cats be removed from the residence. 

Shelby County deputies then arrived at the property and removed 20 of the canines, which was the number of dogs they had space to house at their facility. 

The remaining dogs were transported to the kennels at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and several dogs to the Union County Humane Society. In total, 37 dogs were seized from the residence. 

Ohio SPCA representatives met with deputies this week to review photos from the scene and to remove the cats from the home.

Friday morning, Logan County Dog Warden Tim Klingelhofer said the majority of the dogs and cats now are being housed through the Ohio SPCA in Lima, and will not be up for adoption until after the disposition of this case.

While investigating this case, deputies found Hess has a valid vendor and kennel license, according to Logan County Auditor’s Office records. 

A report has been forwarded to the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office for further review and determination of charges.