WARREN - Tiffany Charlton says allegations that she was not taking care of or feeding 11 dogs in her care are not true. Still, she has until today to get rid of all but four of the canines.
Warren City Health Department and Animal Control officer went to 2518 Hamilton St. S.W. Wednesday after being told the dogs were not being fed or cared for properly and that there was no water at the house.
What they found was a small, single-family ranch house with trash and debris in front, on the side and in the rear of the property. The house does not have gutters and clearly is in need of some repair.
However, by Thursday, Charlton and her fiance, Mike Kelley, had removed a large amount of the debris from around the house. There were several dog chains spiked into the ground in the front and rear of the house. Several large dog cages also were at the house.
Charlton and Kelley say they have been taking dogs into their home since moving into it in February.
"We have four dogs of our own," Charlton said. "We have been taking in strays, feeding them, nursing them to health and then giving them to others."
iffany Charlton, holding her dog, Boo Boo — one of 11 dogs found at Hamilton Street on Wednesday — says allegations that her animals are not cared for or fed are false. City officials told Charlton and her fiance, Mike Kelley, said they could have only four dogs at the house.
Photo by Raymond L. Smith
Charlton said two of the dogs at the house on Wednesday belong to a neighbor who is in the process of moving.
"People keep bringing us dogs to take care of," she said. "I look at the faces of the dogs and I can't say no."
Kelley said the couple spends nearly $1,000 a month buying food for the animals.
"I work at least two jobs so I can pay for the food and the things around the house," he said.
Warren Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Pinti and Animal Control Officer John Onatz have given the couple until today to find homes for all but four of the dogs or they would be taken from the house. City ordinance is that four dogs is the maximum allowed at a private residence, Onatz said Thursday.
"The dogs do look a little thin," Onatz said. "However, we were told by neighbors that the dogs are regularly fed.
"If they have more, we will have either the dog pound or the Animal Welfare League pick them up," Onatz said.
Kelley said he expects to have homes for all but four of the dogs by the time city officials return.
Megan Hartford, a neighbor and a friend of the couple, said the dogs are not mean and have not bitten anyone.
"I'm not afraid of having my children go over there," Hartford said.
Hartford said her house has been broken into four times in the last several years and having dogs nearby could be helpful.
"Earlier this summer, someone came into our our house while we were at home," Hartford said. "Most people on this street have dogs."
Pinti said after the issue of the dogs is addressed, the city will look at what to do about the condition of the house.
"The house does have utilities," he said. "But it is clear it does have some things that need to be addressed."
Kelley said the house did not have utilities when they moved in, but they have replaced sinks and installed a toilet.