By Christine Keeling
Carol Dauberman kept two of the 24 dogs that were found on her rental property, and neighbors wonder if she is capable of caring for them.
Dauberman, 40, of Berlin Center, faces 10 counts of cruelty to animals after the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department found 24 dogs and 12 cats in a barn and trailer Aug. 9 on Bedell Road.
She is scheduled for arraignment at 11 a.m. today in Sebring Municipal Court. If found guilty, she could receive up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine for each second-degree misdemeanor count.
“They are trying to make it worse than it was,” said Dauberman. “The dogs were fed and healthy.”
She said she took the dogs, from someone she met while working at a private-rescue group in Cleveland because she had the barn on her property.
“I thought I was going to have help, and it turned out to be just me,” said Dauberman. “I did the best I could.”
She said she tried to call other groups to help with the dogs, but no one would help her. She said she believes the problem looked worse because she didn’t have trash service.
“It came to a point where you couldn’t take it anymore,” said Dauberman’s neighbor, William McKlveen.
He said that during the more than two years he lived there, he would see Dauberman and her mother arrive on the property every two to three days, go into the barn, in the trailer and then sit in their car through the night. During the winter, he said, the car would stay running.
McKlveen said he knew Dauberman had four dogs. But on June 13, he said, Dauberman’s mother approached him covered in dog’s blood, saying she broke up a dog fight.
“She said she had 19 dogs,” said McKlveen. “She told us that if one got loose, just shoot it.”
He said the next day a humane agent was called.
“This could have been resolved months ago,” said McKlveen. The humane agent “came, walked around, left a card and left.”
Animal Charity humane agent Kyle Ziegler said he didn’t get to view the animals when he visited the property the first time in June, but he couldn’t imagine that the circumstances changed much between that visit and his second visit. He said from June to August he tried to find homes for the dogs.
Tim Chambers of Niles said he lived next to the Daubermans, in Berlin Center, more than three years ago and moved away in part because of five dogs on the property.
He said the animals were left unattended for two or three days.
“Water in their bowls would freeze in the winter,” said Chambers. “I called anybody in the phone book to do something.”
Court records show the dog warden cited Dauberman at the Bedell Road address for failure to register dogs in 2006.
“She has no business taking care of a hamster,” said Chambers.
McKlveen said during the 100-degree days this summer, the dogs would whine in the barn because they didn’t have food or water.
He said he decided to call the sheriff’s department after he heard Dauberman yell to her mother: “What are we going to do with the one that’s half eaten?”
When the deputy arrived, according to the incident report, Dauberman allowed him to enter the barn after she secured the dogs.
Upon entering, he said, he saw a large pile of feces and trash in the center of the barn.
He called the dog warden and humane agent.
Dog Warden Dave Nelson said the pile was 10-feet wide, 20-feet long and 4- to 5-feet deep and made of mostly feces. Water dishes were located in two of four pens and outside the penned area. Some dogs had holes in their flesh and skin rashes.
“Our first concern was to get the pups out,” said Nelson. In total, 17 adult dogs, seven puppies and 12 cats were found on the property.
Mahoning County sheriff’s detective Patrick Mondora said the 10 counts of animal cruelty were based on the dog’s living conditions. He said the barn was very hot and offered the dogs no sunlight.
The Mahoning County District Board of Health sent a notice Aug. 12 to the property owner, Charles Kline of Kent, asking that he remove the solid waste located throughout the property.
Dauberman said she agreed to sign over all but two of her personal dogs.
“I want” the dogs “to have homes and have a chance,” said Dauberman.