Nearly 150 dogs found dead in home of animal rescue co-founder

Nearly 150 dogs have been found dead at the home of a woman who co-founded the non-profit animal rescue organisation Canine Lifeline.

The tragedy was uncovered after the Portage Animal Protective League’s Humane Investigations Department executed a search warrant for Barbara Wible’s home in Mantua, Ohio on Friday 16 June.

According to a press release, the Protective League received a tip that an animal cruelty charge was pending against Ms Wible in another city.

“Inside the home, the Humane Agent discovered 146 deceased dogs in varying stages of decay. No dogs were found alive,” the official statement read. “Many of the dogs were found confined within their crates.”

Necropsies – or animal autopsies – will be performed to determine the dogs’ cause of death, the Protective League said, without revealing any other details about the ongoing investigation.

Volunteers at Canine Lifeline said they were “shocked, horrified and confused to learn of the devastating revelations” regarding Ms Wible, and the dogs that suffered in her care, in a statement posted on Facebook.

“We share your grief and despair,” they wrote.

According to their statement, an investigation was launched into Ms Wible after first responders found her collapsed at her home in Parma, Ohio on 2 June.

The investigation uncovered “an overwhelming evidence of ongoing fatal animal neglect” at Ms Wible’s Parma residence and her previous home in Mantua, that was raided by the Protective League.

The statement highlighted that volunteers at Canine Lifeline didn’t know that Ms Wible was suffering from any medical conditions, or that she was fostering so many dogs.

They also weren’t aware of the state of her home because volunteers were reportedly never given access to either of her Ohio homes. They believed Wible was a “very private person who appeared, to us, to be devoted to these rescue animals”.

“We are sickened and blind-sighted to learn this was a facade,” the statement read.

The surviving dogs that were rescued in Parma were taken to a local animal shelter, and Canine Lifeline volunteers continue to assist the organisation to locate foster homes for them.