Three dogs seized along with 122 others in May from a Concord Twp. home as part of an investigation into an alleged puppy mill will remain at the Miami County Animal Shelter at least until criminal charges filed against the resident are resolved, a judge ruled this week.
The dogs were identified during a July 8 hearing in county Municipal Court as pets of the family living at the Peebles Road address. Judge Gary Nasal was told Larisa Solomon gave up rights to 122 other puppies and dogs but investigators executing a search warrant were told the three dogs in question were the family pets. The other dogs were adopted.
Solomon, 52, faces two misdemeanor charges of child endangering and 12 misdemeanors of animal cruelty/neglect. She has pleaded not guilty.
Sheriff Dave Duchak said in June the charges resulted from “unsanitary, unhealthy and unlivable conditions at the residence which Solomon shared with her two children.”
Defense lawyer Jose Lopez filed a motion for the return of the family pets. He said in court the home had been cleared by the county Public Health Department. He argued the dogs would be better off in the care with the family than at the shelter, where they had not been groomed.
“These animals will get better care in the custody of my client (Solomon),” he said.
Jared Chamberlain, an assistant Municipal Court prosecutor, said the dogs were being held as evidence and had not been groomed in case they were needed as evidence in court. He said the dogs were safe and being fed and watered.
“There is no evidence at this point that she is a more responsible pet owner than she was two months ago,” Chamberlain said.
In his decision overruling the motion, Nasal said the legislature in writing companion animal laws intended to protect the animal. Among possible penalties should the owner be found guilty could be permanent termination of her right “to possession, title, custody, or care of the companion animal(s)” involved in the offense, Nasal wrote.
State laws defines companion animals as any animal kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog or cat regardless of where it lives. It does not include livestock or wild animals.
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