TOLEDO -- A Toledo mother is facing charges after police found her four small children alone in a house that was possibly used for dog fighting.
Police discovered the children and nine pit bulls inside a home in the 1400 block of Belmont Tuesday morning. An officer had spotted someone who was wanted for domestic violence. The officer chased and lost the suspect but found something even more disturbing.
Five kids younger than 10 years old were inside the house, with no adult. There were, however, some very aggressive pit bulls behind closed doors.
"We knocked on the door," said TPD Officer Barb Jackson. "The door opened because it wasn't closed."
Jackson saw the children, unattended with a loaded shotgun in the living room.
"Checking the residence for an adult, we found three more children upstairs. Mom was nowhere. There were no adults in the house," Jackson said.
The mother, Allison Gilmore, says she stepped out for a minute. The problem is that she left the children with nine pit bulls -- on chains, in rooms and in the garage.
"Pit bulls are basically loaded weapons," Jackson said. "The children told us to be careful with the one that was locked in the bedroom."
"They're too young to be left unattended. And, definitely too young to be left with pit bulls," said Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon, adding that two of the dogs were so vicious that they needed to be tazed.
"The children said, 'Please be careful because he'll bite you. He bites really bad,'" Jackson said.
Officers removed the dogs, including three puppies. They say most of them had scars. Skeldon says the house was being renovated for dog fighting.
"There is a pit, and there is a picture window from the dining room looking into the pit," Skeldon said.
Children's Services took all five children away. They are now with relatives.
"Mom will have to answer to this," Jackson said. "Four of the children were hers. One of the children she was just babysitting for."
Police also confiscated stolen ATV's, dirt bikes and lawnmowers. Gilmore faces at least one charge of child endangering, with more counts and more charges likely to come.
"The tragedy that could have taken place is unbelievable," Jackson said.
Skeldon wants to increase dog license fees by $5 next year. He says his department must have the resources necessary to keep the community safe. The proposal is now before county commissioners.