You’ve probably seen ads on TV from the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that depict horrible animal abuse. The abuse is real. Look no further than Sidney, Ohio, to get a sense for just how badly people can treat dogs.
Firefighters arrived at the home of Grazyna Latocha to extinguish a fire that was engulfing the roof. Latocha stated there were no pets in the house, but the fire department’s protocol is to always search a residence, and so three firefighters entered the house. In the basement they found 12 adult French Bulldogs and six puppies.
All the dogs were housed in cages that were wire-tied shut. At least five or six were stacked two-high. Because there was no solid barrier below the cages, the dogs in the upper cages would relieve themselves on the dogs below. Some dogs were housed two to a cage. It appeared the dogs had been in the cages for months.
The dogs were all filthy and malnourished, and there was feces everywhere. The stench the dogs carried “was awful.” Two of the adult females had visible vaginal concerns, and multiple males had visible eye problems. Other dogs suffered from various maladies as well.
Latocha was charged with violating Ohio’s Cruelty Against Companion Animal Law, which protects companion animals—no matter where they are kept, dogs are companion animals—from “unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief.” A jury convicted Latocha, and the judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail and ordered that she forfeit her dogs and have no companion or breeding animals in the future.
Despite detailed testimony from the three firefighters about the dogs—the filth, the stench, their illnesses, their malnourished state—Latocha appealed on grounds there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction. The appellate court didn’t buy it and affirmed the conviction. Latocha will serve time, and the dogs are forever free of her.
[State of Ohio v. Latocha, 3rd Dist. Shelby no. 17-19-22, 2020-Ohio-2664.]