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Whitley County woman makes first court appearance on animal neglect charges

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COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WPTA21) - Bond remains set at $50,000 for 69-year old Loretta Childers, after authorities seized more than 60 dogs from her home near Crooked Lake.

Childers and her husband 71-year old Eugene Childers are charged with ten counts each of misdemeanor abandonment or neglect of a vertebrate animal.

Eugene and Loretta Childers face 10 misdemeanor counts each, after 66 dogs were seized from their home.

Loretta Childers was jailed Thursday.

Eugene Childers will be booked into jail once he returns from an out-of-state business trip.

February 17th, zoning and health officials came to the Childers' home near Crooked Lake and discovered 66 dogs and one cat in the residence.

Court documents say there was water and open bags of food scattered throughout the house, but several animals were deemed to be too thin with underlying medical concerns, including 9 with open sores associated with mange.

The place was covered with dog feces, prompting an order for a full scale cleanup.

The county's health department director says they are making progress on cleaning the home, but that it's not liveable yet.

"I think they realize the living conditions are not what they're supposed to be, and so that they are going to make a good concerted effort to make it better," said health director Scott Wagner.

The dogs that were seized are being cared for by Humane Shelter of Whitley County.

The dogs, that were checked out by state veterinarians, are being cared for by the Humane shelter of Whitley County.

They are now getting regular baths, walks, and are being tested for common health threats.

"We got through 28 heartworm tests, only one positive so far, so that one will have to stay for a treatment obviously, but one out of 28 isn't too bad," said the shelter's director Abbi Carroll.

Back in October, a woman used a cellphone to record a Fort Wayne man lashing out at something in the backseat of a car.

Court documents say a police officer made contact with 21-year old Noah Parish, who admitted to hitting a dog that went to the bathroom in the car.

He told police he was sorry for losing his temper.

He faced an initial hearing this week on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal.

Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control says, "With citizens reporting cases such as these, animal welfare agencies and other agencies are able to investigate these cases and hold individuals responsible. Animal Welfare has made huge strides over the years and will continue to do so with the support of our communities."

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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