This dog was among animals removed from a Dublin residence when the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant. Photo supplied by Wayne County Sheriff’s Office

A tip led to law enforcement, animal and human health experts and donors collaborating to rescue 29 animals living in “deplorable conditions,” according to officials. 

The 23 dogs and six cats were living at a Dublin residence.

Thanks to a thorough tip, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Deputy Jesse Moore “essentially overnight” drafted a search warrant on the morning of Monday, March 18, and a judge approved it at about 3:30 p.m.

WCSO Chief Deputy Alan Moore created a plan to execute the warrant on Tuesday, March 19. Help came from Cpl. Seth Biava of Cambridge City Police Department, WCSO Captain Doug Coffin, a WCSO evidence specialist and many others. 

Jesse Moore has worked for WCSO for four years and has addressed various animal welfare concerns, but had not been part of such a large seizure of pets on one day. 

She has participated in national-level training in the past 18 months and extended her contacts with surrounding agencies.

Alan Moore said having her expertise and those resources available was fantastic, and the volunteers were a critical part of the operation’s success.

He said their involvement made the whole process move more quickly and the animals could get into a safe place as soon as possible. 

Dr. Melissa Justice from Indiana Board of Animal Health determined the health status of each individual animal as it was removed from the residence.

Since they didn’t know their names, each animal was assigned a number and photographs were taken for future evidence needs. 

HELP the Animals processed the animals at the scene and agreed to take all of them and provide further basic and veterinary care. Preble County Humane Society and Animal Care Alliance provided staff on site and supplied cages with help from donors. 

Alan Moore also noted that Wayne County Health Department’s “support was crucial to the successful investigation” and said its employees “went above and beyond to assist.” 

In addition, Reid Health EMS stood by to ensure the wellbeing of everyone on scene.

HELP volunteers transported several dogs immediately for emergency care.

Although the animals seized from this home might not appear to be skin-and-bones thin as they do in some investigations, Jesse Moore noted that weight is not the only health issue that can lead to an animal’s death. 

By Thursday, Jesse Moore said she’d already noted a positive change in some of the animals’ demeanor and they were much happier in a new environment. 

However, Alan Moore cautions the public that resolution of the legal proceedings will be a much lengthier process. 

He said multiple people are claiming to own some of the animals, adding to the complexity of completing interviews and investigations, and the courts are backlogged.  

None of the animals will be available for adoption in the foreseeable future pending the investigation’s conclusion, he said. 

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A version of this article appeared in the March 27 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.