SIDNEY — UPDATE @ 2:50 p.m. (April 1):
Hanna Grazyna Latocha, 68, has been identified as the owner of a house that caught fire where more than a dozen French bulldogs were found living in filthy conditions.
She appeared in court today on animal cruelty charges. Her case was continued until April 29 for her to obtain an attorney.
Animal cruelty charges have now been filed against the owner of a house that caught fire Tuesday night in Sidney, where more than a dozen French bulldogs were found living in filthy conditions.
The Shelby County animal shelter has been inundated with calls from people asking about the dogs, but they are not available for adoption because they are evidence in a criminal case.
Shelby County dog warden Kelli Ward said Friday that it’s hard to believe how well the dogs are doing, just days after firefighters found them while battling a blaze at a large home in the 200 block of North Walnut Avenue.
The house had fire burning through the roof when firefighters responded around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday. It was the second house fire within 40 minutes in Sidney, within a couple blocks. It took crews more than three hours to get the North Walnut Avenue blaze under control that caused an estimated $217,000 damage, Sidney Fire Chief Bradley Jones said.
Crews were able to rescue 17 French bulldogs, but one of them died, he said.
“There are some injuries to these dogs that did not occur as a result of the fire,” Shelby County Chief Deputy James Frye said.
Firefighters reported to deputies they found the dogs kept in wire cages stacked on top of each other without the plastic tray. Some of the dogs had callouses on their paw pads from the wires, and feces and urine was running down the cages, Frye said.
The dogs included some adults and puppies around 3 to 4 months old and others between 7 and 11 weeks old.
To rescue the dogs during the fire, crews had to go cage-to-cage, opening them and handing dogs out one-by-one as fast as they could while the fire burned on the floor above them. Drowning was a concern as water used to fight the fire reached about four feet in the basement, Frye said.
Some of the dogs have medical issues while others are doing just fine.
“I think they were used for breeding,” Ward said. “We have found ads online that matched pictures of the dogs.”
A couple of the dogs have eye problems, which may require them to have an eye removed.
“These are injuries that they’ve probably had for a while that they’ve sustained at an earlier time,” Ward said.
But altogether, Ward said she is impressed with how well they’e recovering.
“They’re kind of a good stress relief to watch play out there,” she said.