LOGAN – A special prosecutor has been appointed to deal with the cases of a Laurelville-area couple who have been charged with animal cruelty, after authorities allegedly seized 42 dogs and three guns from their home.
At a hearing this week, the county will attempt to get an accused in the case to post bail to help pay the cost of feeding and housing all of these dogs, who have been taken into the care of the county animal shelter. since they were seized. (Some of the dogs, all of whom are German Shepherds, are housed on the premises of the Hocking County Humane Society.)
Hocking County Sheriff’s Detective David Wright, who is the county’s chief dog guard, estimated that expense to be around $ 15,000 per month.
“We have had these dogs since January 22 of this year, and they just passed the shelter,” Wright reported on Monday. “It took a lot of work, and obviously expense, to take care of them.”
On January 21, the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office received a report of animal cruelty taking place at the state residence on Route 180 from Bobby and Tracey Fox, aged 51 and 52, respectively. The next day, sheriff’s officers, along with staff from the Hocking County Health Department and the County Humanitarian Society, executed a search warrant at the residence, seizing 42 dogs.
The researchers reportedly found a number of dogs without food or water inside and outside the house, as well as around 100 pigeons, two cows and a number of chickens, including a chicken that is believed to be alive but frozen to the ground.
An incident report stated that five dogs inside the residence were kept in wire cages too small for them to turn around.
In late March, the foxes were indicted by the Hocking County Common Plea Court on two counts of pet cruelty, a fifth degree felony.
On July 8, Hocking County District Attorney Ryan A. Black filed petitions with the court, requesting that a special prosecutor take over the cases, citing “complexity, time constraints and l backlog of cases that the current administration is dealing with “.
Judge John T. Wallace granted the request the same day, appointing attorney Jeffrey Holland of the Sharon Center, Ohio-based law firm Holland and Muiden to continue the cases.
Wright said Holland specializes in humanitarian cases. “It’s his expertise,” the officer said. “He said 90% of his practice is human cases. And he’s famous all over the state for that sort of thing, and has been doing it for years.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled for July 22 in the case of Tracey Fox. At that hearing, Wright explained, Judge Wallace will determine whether or not authorities had probable cause to seize the dogs. If he finds a probable cause, he can then establish a bond that Fox can pay to cover the cost of caring for the animals; alternatively, dogs can be returned to the shelter.
Wright noted that although some of the dogs were puppies at the time of the seizure, they have grown a lot since January.
“Five of them were actually adult females, all of whom have litters of puppies,” he said. “And then there were a few sets that weren’t with the mom, for a total of 42.”