TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo Area Humane Society handles all animal cruelty complaints for Lucas County. But those complaints don't stop on the weekends. With that in mind, the organization added a third cruelty officer to allow for investigations on the weekends.
Investigation officers find a lot of abandoned animals in unspeakable conditions. Two dogs were found Saturday afternoon in filthy, feces-filled garage in Central Toledo.
"They were actually eating the bed. So I imagine they hadn't had food for quite a while," said Trenton Staska, the newest cruelty investigations officer, who started in October.
The humane society handles dozens of complaints a week. Staska said dogs are found in these types of environments more often than people think.
His typical day starts with checking the phones and email for complaints and then heading out to scenes.
Staska believes expanding coverage to seven days a week is a must.
"Something like this would have to wait all the way until Monday," Staska said, "and then those dogs would be just sitting back there without any food and in the cold."
"Any complaint that would come in Friday after four would have to wait until Monday. So now we can go and check them on the very next day."
Heaven said that he's made it a mission since he took over the shelter three years ago to improve the cruelty division.
"I think we're much more professional in dealing with the cause now," he added, "taking them much more seriously and actually really pursuing prosecutions to the final degree."
Heaven added it's always been a goal to have full seven days coverage for investigating complaints. A fourth cruelty officer is currently in training and will help fulfill that goal in a few months.
Meanwhile, Staska added that the job is very difficult to handle at times.
"You never want to see an animal treated that way," he said, "especially when you go home and you treat your dog how you do, you take them on hikes, you treat them like a family member and you see dogs like this that are kind of left like this in a garage to just rot."
But he said he believes in the job that he gets to do and the best part is finding the animals a new home.
"Seeing them go from conditions like this," he added, "abandoned to finding loving homes…sometimes I'm the one who actually gets to do their adoption, so yeah, definitely the best part."
If you have a complaint to report on a neglected or abused animal in Lucas County, call 419-891-9777 or fill out the form by clicking here.