When police in Ohio received a call from a worried citizen, they promised to check their neighbor’s barn out. At this point they had no idea whether the tip-off was something or nothing – but what they found inside was completely despicable.
Erie County is the second smallest county in the state of Ohio, so you might think that the police department there have it pretty easy. However, one cop recently discovered that this isn’t necessarily the case.
In June 2017 Sheriff Paul Sigsworth got a tip-off from a member of the public. It wasn’t any ordinary pointer, either. Why? Because with the information that the police had, it sounded as though lives could be hanging in the balance.
So, what in particular was it that the civilian was so concerned about that was going on in a neighboring barn? Well, he had an inkling that someone was keeping dogs in the building – and yet he hadn’t seen anyone come to look in on them for days.
“We got a call from a gentleman that was concerned about the dogs,” Sigsworth told Fox 8. “The man that called us knew the dogs were in there but said he hadn’t seen anyone go in the barn and check on them for close to a week.”
Concerned for the dogs’ welfare, then, the officer decided that he would have to investigate. So, he obtained a search warrant and took off for the barn with colleague Barb Knapp in tow. And as soon as the pair arrived at the white building, Sigsworth knew that they’d come to the right place.
As he edged closer to the outbuilding, the sheriff couldn’t be sure what would greet him inside, but he must have sensed that it might be something alarming. Then, as he stepped inside the dimly-lit interior, he was met with the most distressing sight.
Inside, Sigsworth found four dogs in the direst of circumstances. Two cowered in cages, while a chain tied the two others to a wall. What’s more, all of them were clearly malnourished and in danger of starving to death.
Images from the scene confirmed the depressing condition that the dogs were in. The animals resembled mere sacks of skin and bone. Their ribs protruded from their emaciated bodies, and the notches in their spines stuck out all down their backs.
It was a tragic sight that shook even experienced Erie County Dog Warden Barb Knapp. “They looked malnourished,” she said. “They had no food, no water, and it was very warm inside of the barn.”
And not only were the animals hungry, but they were tired, too. “The dogs weren’t really dirty,” Knapp said of the pit bull mixes. “But there was nowhere for them to lay down. It was pretty much gravel and dirt.”
It seemed that help had arrived in the nick of time. Alongside Sigsworth, Knapp scooped the dogs up and returned them to the safety of the county kennels. There, staff would be able to assess the abandoned animals and start them on the road to recovery.
First, though, it was important for the rescuers to take care of the necessities. So, they gave the four dogs a much-needed meal and ensured that they were hydrated with plenty of water. At this point, it was hard to tell when the last time was that they’d had food and drink.
After they’d fed and watered the dogs, then, Knapp sought out medical advice. That way she’d know just what kind of care they would require. “We are having a veterinarian come and check on them to find out if they need any medical attention,” she explained.
In the meantime, the police launched an investigation into the dogs’ owner. Yet although the animals were in quite a state, the investigators were unsure as to whether their owner had neglected them intentionally. So, they were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“We are trying to find the owner,” Sheriff Sigsworth told Fox 8. “Maybe he left on vacation, thinking someone was going to watch and take care of them, and they didn’t. We don’t know, but we need the owner to call us.”
The thing that the police found most unusual was the state of the barn itself. According to them, it was presentable and in a “neat” and “clean” condition. So, while the dogs looked neglected, their makeshift kennel was not.
Nevertheless, the police were keen to get to the bottom of the dogs’ ordeal. “We’re trying to identify who the owner of the dogs is,” Sigsworth added. “We want to make contact with them and find out exactly why the dogs were in this barn and were in the condition that they were in. So, we’re in the process of attempting to locate the owner right now.”
Still, for the time being, the dogs were in the best possible place. “I think the important thing at this point is the dogs are here at the dog wardens’ office,” Sigsworth said. “Barbs is taking care of them. They’re safe right now. They’ll be nursed back to health, and we’ll go from there.”
For now, all four dogs are doing well at the shelter. And whether their owner is found or not, thanks to the quick action of the Erie County Dog Wardens, it’s likely that a better life awaits them.