Foster homes needed for 105 dogs seized in Smith Twp.



Humane agents with the Mahoning County Animal Charity Humane Society seized 105 dogs Friday from a Smith Township home.

Agents executed a search warrant at the 1100 North Johnson home about 10:50 a.m. and took the dogs, most of them puppies.

Christopher Flak, a humane agent, said the home operated as “a puppy mill.” The dogs were kept in other quarters on separate parts of the property, he said, and cleaned up for prospective buyers.

He said the owner of the home, Terri Wylie, 57, has been in trouble in the past and faces numerous counts of animal cruelty.

The dogs were taken back to Animal Charity to be examined and will be housed in numerous kennels across Mahoning County for the time being.

As agents were serving the warrant and bringing out the dogs and puppies, at least four people showed up to claim dogs they bought from Wylie online, Flak said.

The puppies are primarily Yorkies, Tea Cup Yorkies and pit-bull mixes, Flak said. He said humane agents have been to her home before.

Flak said the investigation began after his office received a complaint from someone who purchased a puppy Jan. 7. The person had bought a puppy from Wylie, and the puppy was taken to a veterinarian with several medical problems, including ear mites and an infection on its back.

The person returned the puppy, and instead of receiving money back, received another puppy — which had the same medical problems, Flak said.

A check through Mahoning County court records for Wylie shows 40 cases listed since 1993, most of them civil, although there are two criminal — an animal complaint in 2004 and a falsification charge in 2011.

A phone number listed for her said the number is no longer in service.

Wylie’s North Johnson Road home features a large yard that provides enough space to house the puppies, Flak said. He said the four dogs that were set to be sold Friday were the only dogs there that were bathed.

Flak said it took about three days to arrange the logistics in order to house the dogs and to serve the warrant. Other agencies that assisted included the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s Office, the Columbiana County Humane Society and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.

The conditions were so bad that if he was investigating a call rather than serving a warrant, he still would have taken the puppies, Flak said.

“We found the conditions to be deplorable,” Flak said.

Flak said agents also seized records to see if she had the proper paperwork to sell or breed the puppies. He said she will be in court later this month.

The humane society is taking foster applications for the dogs. Anyone interested can stop in between 10 a.m. and noon today at its 4140 Market St. offices in Boardman.

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