It was on a Sunday when a concerned citizen informed Jason Cooke of the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project that an elderly Schnauzer had been found outside Mr D’s food court on Warren Sharon Road in Brookfield.
On Monday, someone replied to Cooke’s “lost dog” social media post, certain it was her stepfather’s dog. On the same day, William Metzinger picked up the dog and smiled as he posed for a photo taken by Cooke – reunited, it seemed.
It was around 9:30 a.m., Cooke said. At approximately 10:20 a.m., the Mahoning County Dog Warden found Dolly loose on Meridian Road near Mahoning Avenue in Austintown, more than a 20-minute drive away.
“At that time, I suspected what happened was that he drove out of here and then immediately left her at the corner of Meridian and Mahoning Avenue,” Cooke said. “The only reason he took her in the first place was because the stepdaughter informed him that someone had found the dog, I believe.”
Metzinger, 75, of Merwin Chase Road, Brookfield, now faces charges of abandoning animals and obstructing official business.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges when arraigned Tuesday in Eastern District Court in Trumbull County. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Marty D. Nosich on June 30, according to court records.
Metzinger could not be reached for comment.
“The problem is that not only did he break the law, but he may have put this dog in danger,” he added. Cooke said, adding that Dolly could have been hit by a car or picked up by someone with bad intentions. Also, he noted, many people will go out of their way to avoid hitting a dog on the road, which could lead to serious car accidents.
NOT A RARITY
Unfortunately, Dolly’s story is not that unusual.
Lori Shandor, CEO of the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League, said the shelter receives regular calls from people wanting to give up pets. Generally, they are placed on a waiting list.
“What becomes problematic is when they don’t go through the steps and they just tie the animal outside and leave, or just leave their house and close the door behind them and leave the animals to fend for themselves. inside”, said Shandor. “It happens more often than I think a lot of people realize.”
When animals are left inside homes, rescuers sometimes don’t discover them in time, she said.
Shandor said abandoning an animal, even on animal shelter property, is illegal. Ohio’s revised code defines it as a second-degree misdemeanor.
The reasons why people choose to abandon or illegally abandon animals vary, although it is often a person or family moving house, an elderly person entering a care facility, long-term care or a lifestyle change like job loss or divorce, Shandor said. .
When Brookfield police initially questioned Metzinger, he said Dolly ran out of the house and he believed she would return, according to a police report. He told police that after picking up the dog the next day, he again ran away from the house.
Metzinger’s daughter-in-law told police that Metzinger likes to travel and may have tried to give up the dog so he could.
Police checked CCTV at Mr. D’s food court and then at Hank’s car wash across the street. Footage from the car wash showed a vehicle matching Metzinger’s pull in the driveway of nearby Obrien storage. A minute later, the passenger side door opened and a small animal was dropped to the ground before the vehicle drove off towards Metzinger’s home.
When police later showed the video to Metzinger, he admitted to abandoning the dog in Brookfield and again in Austintown.
“He had no right to do what he did” Cooke said of Metzinger.
He said most shelters are full right now – Cooke has 51 dogs at Healthy Hearts and Paws, and the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County has more than 170 animals in its care and 270 other dogs, cats and animals pending exotics. list — shelters will try to help pet owners in other ways.
Cooke posts repatriation messages on Facebook when he cannot bring animals to the shelter. Healthy Hearts and Paws also spays or neuters animals to increase their adoptability, or recommends training or medical care as needed.
“Just because the facility is full doesn’t mean there aren’t other avenues to follow, but the one avenue you never pursue is to give up on your dog,” Cooke said.
Sitting in a sunny field outside Healthy Hearts and Paws, Cooke spoke as Winston, another rescue dog, bounced through the tall grass. “Senior Tripod” The three-legged Winston was found mostly paralyzed and was treated.
Winston was clearly someone’s pet too, Cooke said.
“I look at Winston and imagine how he felt when no one came to pick him up, and I can’t even imagine how Dolly felt… he’s a senior Schanuzer. This dog has been in a house his whole life,” Cooke said.
Luckily for Dolly, Metzinger’s stepdaughter took her in. Cooke said he thought she was now getting the love and attention she deserved.
As for Metzinger, Cooke said he hopes to never be allowed to own a pet again.
“This should serve as a warning to anyone who is even considering abandoning their pets,” Cooke said.