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Charges Filed In Gallia Animal Cruelty Case

Reported: Mar. 19, 2014 10:03 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 20, 2014 10:31 AM EDT
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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (Dan Matics) -- Charges have been filed against three people in a southern Ohio case where at least 11 dogs were said to be improperly euthanized, and more details are starting to come to light.

The Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released the findings of its independent investigation.

During the investigation, a necropsy was conducted on the dogs, which indicated they died very painful deaths.

Sheriff’s deputies say the dogs were euthanized in a very inhumane way at the Gallia Animal Shelter.

Nathan Weatherhold is a volunteer at the shelter and said what was going on was horrific.

"That morning, 11 dogs were euthanized,” he said. “The year before, 20 dogs had been put to sleep."

That is when he and other volunteers with the Gallia Friends of Animals said they blew the whistle.

Following an investigation by the sheriff's department, the Gallia County solicitor charged the former dog warden Jean Daniels, current warden Paul Simmers and assistant warden Jason Harris with animal cruelty.

They are accused of injecting a solution into the dogs' muscles to sedate them, then injecting the solution straight into their hearts, a practice that is viewed as unacceptable by the American Humane Association.

The animals are believed to have suffered intense pain. In addition, the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the dogs’ bodies were then just thrown into the trash.

"It's crazy,” Weatherhold said. “It doesn't make sense. There's no way to rationalize this."

Gallia County commissioners would not comment.

The warden and assistant warden are on paid leave, and, as the investigation continues, the animal no-kill group wants tougher charges.

"I think, definitely, for the assistant warden,” Lori Preston of Friends of Gallia Animals said. “He's the one who killed them and in an inhumane manner."

Eyewitness News reached out to Simmers, who is facing charges. He did not want to go on camera, but said he wasn't even in the office the day the improper euthanizations happened. The assistant warden also was called for this report, but whoever answered the phone hung up.



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