Animals recovering, hoarding case continued

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Cases of alleged animal hoarding was considered briefly in court before the case was continued Tuesday.

Meanwhile the animals taken from the Quaker City address are recovering, thanks to a lot of work and care from volunteers.

The cases of Paula Metzler, 55, and her daughter Kristi Metzler, 30, both of 100 Fair Ave., Quaker City, came before Belmont County Western Division Judge Eric Costine.

Each faces six fifth-degree felony counts of causing serious physical harm to companion animals, one first-degree misdemeanor count of child endangerment and 13 second-degree misdemeanor charges of animal abuse. They are to have no contact with animals or the individual involved in the alleged child-endangering case, Paula Metzler’s 19-year-old daughter who has a disability.

Belmont County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Vavra said Paula Metzler appeared via video and requested that her $5,000 bond be reduced.

“That was denied,” Vavra said.

He added that Kristi Metzler’s attorney could not be present, so her case also was continued. They will appear before Costine again Oct. 10 and remain lodged at the Belmont County Jail.

Paula Metzler has a prior conviction for animal cruelty in Belmont County, and investigators believe the Metzlers have moved animals back and forth from their properties in Belmont and Guernsey counties in an effort to conceal that they had the animals.

Due to the serious harm to the animals in this present case, the prosecutor’s office intends to pursue felony charges.

“It is our intention to present the matters to grand jury,” Vavra said.

Julie Larish, humane agent for Belmont County Hoof & Paw which has taken custody of the animals after investigating the matter, said the Metzlers have not yet paid the $2,250 ordered for the animals’ upkeep.

The court gave care of the 12 living animals taken from the Metzler residence to the Belmont County Hoof & Paw humane agency. The Metzlers are to pay for the care of the animals. Multiple animals were reportedly found dead at the home. Hoof & Paw described the living conditions as “deplorable.”

Larish commented on the state of the living animals.

“The two poodles are making a recovery like none other. They’re just amazingly better,” Larish said. “The Chihuahuas are doing fine, so right now everybody is actually improving on their health, so we’re just hoping we continue this route, we don’t have any setbacks.”

She said any support from the public would be welcome.

“We’re really in need of some vet money, because we literally spent over $2,000 on just two dogs. That doesn’t include any of the other vet bills that are up and coming, that’s just two dogs,” she said. “They were the two in the worst shape. The other four poodles they had — which were siblings and the mother to these two — all perished. They all died.

“We’re trying to keep these two alive. They’re on some special food for their digestive tracts, which is a little more expensive. They’re on medication for massive quantity of worms and some digestive issues, and they’ve got anemia real, real bad,” Larish said. “We’re just trying to keep them going in the right direction, but any funds we can possibly get for vet bills would be awesome.”

Hoof & Paw can be reached at 610-314-5203 or through BCHP Inc. on Facebook.


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