Officials believe an Ohio County woman's hybrid wolf-dogs may have eaten her body after she died.
On Sunday, 14 News learned Patricia Ritz faced animal cruelty charges several times in a number of places.
According to Adopt-a-Husky Rescue, Ritz's first offense took place in 1986 affecting 50 dogs in Posey County. She was found guilty and given one year probation. However, it turned out to be the first of many such incidents.
In 1987 Ritz was found guilty of five counts of animal abuse in Evansville. She was given two years probation and was ordered not to being dogs into Indiana again.
Her third offense happened in 1991 when officials found seven unattended dogs in her vehicle. Charges were dropped a few months later after she promised she would not bring dogs into the state anymore.
Greenville, KY officials found 120 dogs in Ritz's possession in 1997 and she was found guilty of second degree cruelty.
Of 184 dogs found in 1999, 159 dogs were euthanized and Ritz was allowed to keep the remaining 25 if she spayed and neutered them.
Ritz was found guilty to second degree cruelty to animals in 2002 after officials found 38 dogs. Her sentence was suspended for two years and she was ordered to leave the county.
More than 34 dogs were euthanized in 2003 due to poor temperaments and health problems.
Now, Ohio County Animal Control is working to save more than 50 wolf-dog hybrids from Ritz' residence on Easton Road in Fordsville.
County authorities believe Ritz became sick and died and the dogs turned to her body for food to survive.
It isn't clear exactly how many times Patricia was charged with animal cruelty, but rescue workers say although the situation is tragic, at least this is the end.
"After the sadness, there was relief," said Mary Beth Kolb with Adopt-a-Husky Rescue. "There absolutely was relief that this will never happen again."
Ohio County Animal Control is still looking for donations to help the dogs being rescued.
Animal Control officials say there are currently 27 dogs at a veterinarian hospital in Owensboro. They say two of them are female adults and the rest are puppies. The ages of the puppies range from a few days old to 2 months.
They say another 12 dogs are at the Ohio County Animal Shelter. Officials say several of those dogs are "extremely pregnant" and will give birth by the end of the week. One of the dogs is being held in a holding room because it's a "scared biter."
Two other dogs are currently in foster care.
Animal Control officials say they are not rehabilitating the dogs or adopting them out right now and are working to get legitimate rescues and sanctuaries to take in the dogs.
If you would like to donate to Roby's Hybrid Wolf Fund via credit card, you can call Wills Animal Hospital at (270)-684-3201.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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