LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A Lakewood man has agreed to plead guilty to multiple charges of cruelty to animals after dozens of dogs were found living in unsanitary conditions inside his home last month.
The individual, who has not been named, reached the agreement with Lakewood city prosecutors on Friday. As part of the plea deal, he will surrender ownership of the 41 beagles and pay restitution costs while also undergoing mental health treatment for five years. He will not be allowed to own a dog during that period, and violations of the agreement could result in him being jailed for up to 18 months.
Lakewood Mayor and Safety Director Meghan F. George released the following statement:
"I want to thank our Animal Control Officers, Lakewood Police, and everyone on staff who pitched in to address this situation, to care for these unfortunate dogs, and to ultimately get them into a healthy situation. Our prosecutors have done an excellent job of ensuring that the charges fit the offense, but also placing a priority on getting full custody of the dogs in an efficient manner so they can move on to better forever homes as soon as possible."
Police first raided the Waterbury Road house on Dec. 19 and found the dogs living in what was described a "terrible" environment. Authorities later confirmed to 3News they had received multiple complaints about the location, allowing them to get a search warrant.
The home has since been deemed "uninhabitable," with officials helping the owner find other living arrangements. The beagles were placed in the care of the Lakewood Animal Shelter, and will be available for adoption once deemed healthy enough.
"We are happy that the court case is fully resolved, which allows us to get the dogs one step further to being stabilized in long-term, loving homes," Shelter Supervisor Elaine Hearn said Friday.