LORAIN, OHIO - When workers at Animal House, a pet placement center and clinic on North Ridge Road in Lorain, drove up to their business Tuesday morning, they couldn't believe what was tied to a pole by the front door.
A docile mother pit bull, full of milk for her babies had been dropped overnight. Surveillance video showed a four-door sedan approaching and leaving within 3 minutes at about 10 p.m.
Animal House operates the Ohio Pet Placement, a pet adoption service funded by donations, but also offers grooming, boarding and animal clinic services for profit. They are used to seeing animal abuse, but it's not often that they see a mother of newborn puppies dumped on their steps.
Director Crystal Luli was visibly upset by the lack of compassion leaving an animal tied up overnight, but seeing and listening to the mother dog whining for her babies was tough to take.
"They tied her to a post. They have puppies not nursing and they have a mom looking for her pups," said Luli.
An anonymous tip came in Wednesday after the drop-off drew media attention. An eBay classified ad was posted with a picture of the alleged, dumped, mother dog in a kitchen with smaller pictures of puppies now for sale. The price: $250 each.
Acting on the tip from the Animal House, a Lorain humane officer talked to a woman at the residence listed in the ad on West 9th Street in Lorain. Her picture was also in the eBay listing.
According to one of the humane officer, the woman told authorities she was being set up by someone who stole her photograph from Facebook. Neighbors, however, said they have seen the puppies and the mother dog with the couple at that residence.
"The puppies are really cute," said one anonymous neighbor.
After questioning the woman outside the home, she told the officer she was going inside to talk to a man. After several minutes, they allowed a search of the home.
Humane officer Denise Willis, the shelter supervisor of Friendship Animal Protective League, and a retired Lorain humane officer were led inside for approximately 15 minutes. They returned empty-handed.
"We gave a thorough search of the home and didn't see, or smell, any signs of puppies, or a mother dog," said Willis. "We also searched the trash and found no signs of any dog food."
Luli and her husband, who operate Animal Hous,e hope another tip will help reunite the puppies with their mother who is still lactating. Luli is concerned she may get an infection from being prematurely separated from her pups.
If anyone has tips, they are asked to contact Ohio Pet Placement at 440-277-7400 or ohiopetplacement.org
Tips can also be called in to the Friendship Animal Protective League at 440-322-4321.