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Children, Animals Taken From Bellaire Home

Multiple animals and some children were removed from a residence where they were living in what were described as “deplorable” conditions.

Belmont County Animal Rescue League Director and Humane Agent Howard Goldman said the visit took place late last week.

“We were checking a complaint at the house next door, and there were cats outside and the dogs inside. When we were there last week we saw there were children living in there and dogs living inside, and the place looked in bad shape,” he said. “I decided to coordinate with Child Protective Services and the Bellaire Police Department, and we all worked on it together.

“Just from what I could see in the house the conditions were disgusting. The porch had rotting food on it, human food and trash everywhere,” Goldman said. “It was worse than anticipated.

“We removed 12 cats, five dogs, a tank of fish and a ball python,” Goldman said. “They were infested with fleas. Some of the cats have developmental problems. … Although many have health problems, we feel they will be adoptable once they recover. The snake was extremely dehydrated and emaciated. He’s in a foster home where they’re rehydrating him.”

Goldman said the neglect likely occurred over a long period of time.

“The filth on the floor was caked. The cockroach infestation was horrible. The floors were covered with dog feces and cat feces and the laundry was thrown on the floor,” he said.

He said his office is recommending misdemeanor charges of neglect.

Christine Parker, Childrens’ Services director with the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, said two children were placed in foster care.

“There are three different families involved, and Childrens’ Services is involved with all three now. We’re working to make sure all the children have a clean and safe place to live,” she said.

“There were eight children. Their ages range from 3 to 15, and there were three different families. Two of the families were able to find a safe place for their children. The third family was not able to, so there were two children that were placed in foster care.”

The children are being treated for hygiene-related issues. Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said his office is looking into potential charges.

“It does appear to be child endangerment relative to one or both of the adults living there,” Flanagan said, adding these would be first-degree misdemeanors.

He said a third adult may also be charged. Charges are likewise to be announced regarding the animals.

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