An agent from the Portage Animal Protective League discovered the remains of 146 deceased dogs “in various stages of decay” while conducting a search warrant in Mantua, Ohio, last Friday, according to a press release issued this week.
These remains were found at the home of a woman who operates a nonprofit animal rescue, said the press release.
“The homeowner is known to be a founding operator of Canine Lifeline, Inc., a nonprofit animal rescue,” it said. In a separate press release, Canine Lifeline said its volunteers were “shocked, horrified and confused to learn of the devastating revelations regarding its president and co-founder, Barb Wible, and the dogs that suffered at her home.”
According to the Portage Animal Protective League, no living dogs were found at Wible’s home. Many of the deceased animals were found confined in crates.
Canine Lifeline said that Wible was hospitalized June 2 after she was found collapsed at her home. Volunteers from the organization said they were not aware of any medical conditions Wible had been diagnosed with.
An investigation was triggered when first responders arrived. This investigation “uncovered overwhelming evidence of ongoing fatal animal neglect in both her current Parma residence as well as her former home in Mantua,” said Canine Lifeline. Volunteers also said they were not aware of the number of dogs she harbored or the condition of her property.
“Please know that the volunteers of Canine Lifeline are grieving this tragedy and are cooperating with the appropriate authorities,” said the press release. “Canine Lifeline has been an all-volunteer network of animal rescue volunteers. Since its founding, it has matched over 6,000 dogs with their forever families.”
It went on to explain that the group consists of a volunteer network that fosters dogs until they can be matched with an owner.
“Wible was a very private person who appeared, to us, to be devoted to these rescue animals; it appeared to be her life’s passion, and we are sickened and blind-sighted to learn this was a façade,” said the release. “Wible gave no indication that she was seriously ill nor that she needed help above and beyond what the volunteers were doing to assist at the adoption center or by fostering dogs within their own homes.”
While no living dogs were found in Mantua, there were some surviving dogs at Wible’s Parma residence, said Canine Lifeline. Those animals were taken to the Parma Animal Shelter, where they received veterinary care and Canine Lifeline volunteers have helped the shelter find homes for them.
“For the Canine Lifeline dogs who were being fostered in loving homes prior to this gut-wrenching discovery, they will continue to be fostered with utmost safety, and adopted out through Canine Lifeline to prioritize their continuity of care,” said the organization. “We have been doing all that we can to help in rehabilitating the surviving dogs and finding them loving, permanent homes.”
Going forward, necropsies will be performed to determine the deceased dogs’ causes of death. The investigation into the discovery is ongoing.
Anyone who might have details that could aid the investigation can contact Portage Animal Protective League Humane Agent, Holly Ebner at [email protected].