WARREN, Ohio - Three people facing charges for leaving more than a dozen animals to fend for themselves appeared before a judge for the first time on Monday.
Michael Kelley, Tiffany Charlton, 30, and her father, Randall Charlton, 60, each entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments in Warren Municipal Court.
Kelley and Tiffany Charlton's bond was set at $1,500. Randall Charlton's bond was set at $3,500.
Kelley's ex-father-in-law, William VanHorn, says he's baffled about the place where he was dropping off his grandson to visit. "If they can't take care of a dog, how are they going to take care of kids?" VanHorn said.
Both Kelley and Tiffany Charlton face nine counts of animal cruelty charges, second degree misdemeanors. Randall is charged with four counts. Each count carries up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $750 fine.
Authorities believe nine animals discovered dead earlier this month at their Hamilton Street home were victims of cruelty. Some of the pets were found decaying, including a dog that appeared to be eaten by an unknown animal on a coach.
Animial Welfare of Trumbull County is now caring for four surviving dogs. They believe a number of factors lead up to the situation at the Warren home.
"Everybody has a limit as to what they can financially care for and what they can physically care for and they have to understand what that limit is," said Debbie Agostinelli, Animal Welfare of Trumbull County shelter director.
Agostinelli says pet owners who find themselves overwhelmed should contact a nearby animal shelter if they decide they may need help.
While two of the dogs taken in from the Warren home are doing well, the shelter is working with the two others to bring them to a healthier weight.
"They've all had their vaccinations, they've been de-wormed, they've had a warm bed and good meals, they're doing okay," Agostinelli said.