MIAMI COUNTY — The Board of Miami County Commissioners recognized the “team work” of county employees during last week’s puppy mill investigation which resulted in 125 dogs being seized, housed and adopted by the Miami County Animal Shelter.
Following its regular business session on Thursday, Commissioner Ted Mercer said, “Within 48 hours, this community of Miami County came together. The people of Miami County and surrounding areas adopted the animals in just two short days. “
Miami County Sheriff’s Office along with animal control officers from the Miami County Animal Shelter executed a search warrant at 3365 Peebles Road in Concord Township on May 6. Officials discovered a puppy mill operation inside the home, which was later condemned due to unsanitary living conditions. Two teenagers and the homeowner were relocated with help from Miami County Children Services. At the conclusion of the search warrant, 125 dogs, including many puppies, were seized by the Miami County Animal Shelter. The homeowner relinquished the rights to 122 of the dogs, citing three were deemed family dogs. Four pregnant dogs remain at the shelter, and the remaining puppies and dogs were all adopted in 48 hours from the shelter.
Mercer, who went to the shelter the day the dogs were seized, noted the hard work and dedication volunteers gave during the influx of dogs arriving at the shelter. Mercer said no one complained and noted the numerous volunteers who came in the next day to assist.
Mercer thanked Amy Locke from Children Services in her help for the juveniles and parent placement during the incident. Mercer commended the efforts of commissioner staff Leigh Williams, Carrie Vaugh, Alicia Wheeler, Bev Mumford and Debbie Enoch, Deputy Sarah Fraley, animal control officers, and many of the volunteers who donated food, supplies and others who stepped in to help.
“In Miami County, we treat animals with love and compassion,” Mercer said. “These puppies are now with their new families enjoying the love and compassion they deserve. On behalf of the board of county commissioners and Miami County, we say thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you that answered the call. We are very grateful for all of you.”
Mercer noted Deputy Fraley “has really stepped up to the plate” during the crisis.
Commissioner Greg Simmons said he went to the animal shelter a few times during the incident and noted everyone’s hard work.
“You guys really came together as a team. Different ones from the county came out to help. Like Commissioner Mercer said, we can’t thank the sheriff enough stepping up to the plate saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ and he had the right person (Deputy Fraley), and we are so thankful for that,” Simmons said.
Commissioner Jack Evans said he appreciated everyone’s efforts while he was out of the state during the incident. Evans said at times the Animal Shelter gets a negative wrap, but the incident showed the employees’ dedication to the animal community.
“I think we showed this community how dedicated our people are out there. What a great job they’ve done, and I’m really happy and proud to say you work for Miami County. Thank you very much,” Evans said.
Miami County Sheriff David Duchak said it was a collaborative effort among a handful of county agencies for the positive out come.
“Everybody needs to work together, and we remedied a bad situation, and we did it very quickly. We couldn’t have done this without the community’s support with not only donations, but stepping up and adopting the animals,” Duchak said. “My hat’s off to everyone here. I was there for moral support, they all did the hard work. Every office. I think the county has a lot to be proud of and how this turned out.”
Charges are still pending against the homeowner and are currently being reviewed by the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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