Foster families in line for rescued dogs

Heather Rousseau/The Herald
Alicen Cordeiro of Jasper, left, kissed a dog as Tina Jochum of Jasper helped groom the animal Saturday at Pet-Agree Professional Pet Grooming in Jasper. The dog was one of 37 canines removed Friday from a Huntingburg home. Of the 37 dogs, nine were dead. Area residents have offered to adopt several of the survivors and the investigation into the case is ongoing. For more photos, click here.

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — Many of the 28 surviving dogs removed by authorities from a Huntingburg home Friday had finished with grooming and veterinarian visits and were being released to foster families today.

Monica Leitch, one of four directors of the Dubois County Animal Control Team based in Huntingburg, said her agency should have 11 of the dogs in its care in foster homes before day’s end today. All will have been seen by a veterinarian. Fostering families are still being sought.

“Any kind of donation people can give to help care for these dogs would be great,” Leitch said.
“Homes are really going to be the big thing.”

The Dubois County Humane Society currently has six of the rescued dogs at its Jasper facility and six more at the Dogwood Animal Clinic. The humane society chapter in Jasper had yet to transition its rescued dogs from the case into foster homes as of this morning.

Many of the fostering families stepping forward, like Ray and Sue Persohn of Jasper, are planning on ultimately adopting the dogs in their care when the animal neglect case is resolved, Leitch said.

Sue Persohn, 73, said she and her 71-year-old retired husband, Ray Persohn, had been actively discussing getting a shih tzu. When news of the animal neglect case broke and they learned one of the dogs was a black, female shih tzu, they stepped forward to foster and, hopefully, complete their first pet adoption.

Other dogs removed from the Huntingburg home included poodles and a German shepherd.

Leitch said Dubois County ACT had spent two years investigating possible animal neglect involving suspect Mary K. Burch, 66, of 609 N. Washington St. Humane society officials became involved with the case several months ago, Leitch said.

On Friday morning, ACT had enough information amassed to file an animal neglect complaint at the Huntingburg Police Department.

Huntingburg detective Sgt. Christian L. Gogel went with the complainants and investigated dogs that were allegedly being neglected at Burch’s Washington Street address. Gogel reported findings to the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office and a search warrant was subsequently issued by the Dubois Circuit Court.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Huntingburg officers executed the warrant with the assistance of representatives of the Dubois County ACT and Dubois County Humane Society.

Investigators located the 37 dogs on the property. Nine of them, located in the upstairs of the house that was not being lived in, were dead, according to Gogel. The 28 dogs that were still alive were taken by the two animal welfare groups.

Gogel estimated there were at least two pet carriers at the property for every dog rescued. Leitch estimated there were 90 plastic pet carriers outside the home.

Leitch said two live dogs — a mother and a puppy — were inside the house. The dogs that were outside were in wire pens.

“Some had wooden doghouses, some had the little plastic-style doghouses but none of them had any kind of bedding in them,” Leitch said. “They were just laying on the bare floods. And in some of (the pens), the doghouses were turned over. They couldn’t even get into them.”

Police were still investigating the Burch case and charges were pending as of this morning.

“We do have some dogs that are at the vet getting checked out,” Gogel said. “That’s kind of what I’m waiting on.”

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.

(Earlier - 4/25/12)

Heather Rousseau/The Herald
A mother poodle and her puppy were housed at a local clinic on Saturday in Huntingburg after being rescued. Thirty-seven neglected dogs, nine of which were found dead, were removed on Friday from a home in Huntingburg. For more photos, click here.

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — Thirty-seven dogs — including the bodies of nine dead canines — were removed from a Huntingburg home Friday.

Suspect Mary K. Burch, 66, of 609 N. Washington St., is being investigated for animal neglect, a misdemeanor.

Members of the Dubois County Animal Control Team came to the Huntingburg Police Department’s station to file an animal neglect complaint at 9 a.m. Friday.

Huntingburg detective Sgt. Christian L. Gogel went with the complainants and investigated dogs that were being neglected at Burch’s Washington Street address. Gogel reported findings to the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office and a search warrant was subsequently issued by the Dubois Circuit Court.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Huntingburg officers executed the warrant with the assistance of representatives of the Dubois County ACT and Dubois County Humane Society.

Investigators located the 37 dogs on the property. The 28 dogs that were still alive were taken by the two animal welfare groups. Several were taken to the Dubois County Animal Hospital in Huntingburg for treatment, police said. Burch was reported to have told police she had four of the dogs sold. The dogs ranged from small animals like poodles up to a German shepherd, according to authorities.

Police are still investigating and charges are pending.

Contact Bill Powell