MANTUA, Ohio – The co-founder of a nonprofit canine rescue organization turned out to be a fraud when a welfare check at her Ohio home resulted in the discovery of 146 dead dogs last week, according to a humane nonprofit investigating the incident.
The alleged gross offender was identified as Barbara Wible, according to the Portage Animal Protective League’s Humane Investigations Department. Wible is the co-founder of the nonprofit rescue organization Canine Lifeline of Macedonia, Ohio, and had a pending animal cruelty charge in another jurisdiction, FOX 8 Cleveland reported.
Authorities had responded to her home on June 2 after Wible collapsed, according to a statement from Canine Lifeline posted to the organization’s website. Following Wible’s collapse, an investigation was “triggered” into “evidence of ongoing fatal animal neglect” at the woman’s “current” home in Parma, as well as the Mantua home.
The uncovered secret revelations were “stomach-churning” to those with care and compassion for rescued animals.
“Inside the home, the Humane Agent discovered 146 deceased dogs in varying stages of decay. No dogs were found alive. Many of the dogs were found confined within their crates,” the Portage Animal Protective League said.
An unspecified number of surviving dogs at Wible’s Parma residence have since been transferred to the Parma Animal Shelter, Fox News reported.
Staff members at Canine Lifeline said the organization was “shocked and horrified” to learn about the horrid discovery.
“Please know that the volunteers of Canine Lifeline are grieving this tragedy and are cooperating with the appropriate authorities. Canine Lifeline has been an all-volunteer network of animal rescue volunteers. Since its founding, it has matched over 6,000 dogs with their forever families,” the organization said.
Canine Lifeline added that Wible “was a very private person who appeared … to be devoted to these rescue animals; it appeared to be her life’s passion.” The organization is “sickened and blind-sighted to learn this was a facade.”
“Volunteers and adoptive families that gave their time and energy to the cause of animal welfare are now navigating feelings of bewilderment, betrayal, and grief in light of what has been learned about Wible’s secret treatment of animals,” Canine Lifeline continued.
Neighbors told FOX 8 Cleveland that humane workers rescued dogs from the residence last year.
According to documents obtained by FOX 8, Canine Lifeline had a net operating loss that exceeded $9,000 last year.
Necropsies — autopsies for animals — will be performed on the canines to determine how they died.
The investigation remains ongoing. The Portage Animal Protective League is asking anyone with information about the home or Wible to contact humane agent Holly Ebner at [email protected].