April 19, 2014

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7 dogs removed from filthy Lorain homes; loaded gun found in grass

LORAIN — The Lorain dog warden removed seven dogs from two filthy Lorain homes Thursday evening, and Lorain police have issued a warrant for the woman who owns the homes.

Police were alerted about the dogs a day earlier when they were at one of the homes and recovered a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun hidden in high grass.

The dogs, a female long-haired mix breed dog with four puppies and two yorkie poos, were found in “miserable living conditions” at 1822 and 1832 Long Ave., according to a Lorain police report. The dogs were doing better this afternoon and are expected to be available for adoption in two to three weeks.

A mother spaniel and three of her four puppies removed Thursday from 1822 Long Ave. in Lorain.

A mother spaniel and three of her four puppies removed Thursday from 1822 Long Ave. in Lorain.

At 1822 Long, police found the mother dog and puppies, “numerous piles of dog feces” and a “smell of urine, paint and dog feces.” A fifth puppy was found dead in a closet and covered in flies and maggots.

At 1832 Long, where police found the two yorkie poos, “as the door was opened a blast of heat and an odor of urine and feces were felt,” according to the police report. The floor and two beds were covered in feces, there was no food or water for the dogs, and the house had no circulation on a day in which temperatures reached the 80s, the report said.

Police issued a warrant for the arrest of Brenda Torres on seven counts each of abandoning animals and cruelty to companion animals, two counts of nuisance condition prohibited and one count of killing animals. Torres is listed on the Lorain County auditor’s Web site as the owner of 1822 Long. There is no listing for 1832 Long, which Lorain second-ward councilman Dennis Flores described as an old storefront.

Flores said he spoke to Torres about a year ago and sent a letter to the city pointing out her housing code violations. At the time she was living at 1832, he said.

“It looked like a car bomb hit the side of the building,” he said. “She didn’t speak real good English and didn’t really comprehend what I was asking.”

City Dog Warden Michael Mattei said Torres has other outstanding warrants for property tax evasion and disorderly conduct.

Police had stopped at 1822 Long on Wednesday when they noticed two men they suspected of trespassing at the apparently vacant home.

A loaded 9 mm Intratec machine gun found in some grass Wednesday at 1822 Long Ave. in Lorain.

A loaded 9 mm Intratec handgun found in some grass Wednesday at 1822 Long Ave. in Lorain.

As officers were checking the property, Flores arrived. Flores discovered a loaded 9 mm Intratec handgun in some grass at the home.

“While I was waiting for the police, I noticed the dogs inside barking, when one of the neighbors approached me and told me that the dogs have been abandoned for almost a month,” Flores said.

“The smell was so bad it knocked us down as we opened the door … it was the worst thing I have ever experienced,” Flores said.

The dogs were taken to the Lorain Animal Clinic, where they were evaluated and treated, and they are now with Becky Ayers, who runs Petres-Q.

The puppies are eating, the mom is getting settled, and the yorkie poos are doing better, according to Mattei. They were underfed and their fur was matted and they were covered in bugs, he said.

Ayers said she has them on a high-protein diet, and she expects they’ll be ready for adoption in two to three weeks. Anyone interested in adopting a dog can call her at (440) 315-2856.

Flores, who lives a half-block away from the homes, said he takes advantage whenever he sees police in the neighborhood to try to clean up the neighborhood.

“Anytime police are in the area, I go look for drugs and guns,” he said. Flores said there are 12 to 14 vacant homes in the one-block area.

The area has seen a lot of violence this summer.

Police are still looking for information in the June 22 shooting death of Marquis McCall, 18. It occurred just five blocks away at West 13th and Long. Police believe that shooting was in retaliation for the death of Christopher Hill, 16, who was fatally shot earlier the same day at West 18th and Long, in the vicinity of today’s two houses.

“Fighting crime in that area is an uphill battle,” Mattei said. “The nice people are too scared to pick up the phone and call police, and the problem kids run the streets.”

Flores said he was happy to get another gun off the street and happy to see the dogs getting the care they needed.

“You want to see a happy dog, take a look at that picture of the dog smiling,” he said.

View police evidence photos of the homes and the dogs.

Contact Rona Proudfoot at 329-7124 or rproudfoot@chroniclet.com.