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CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Animal Resource Officers pulled 130 animals from a home in Huber Heights Wednesday. The home was being used as the primary site for the shelter known as "Circle of Love."
Several animal groups are on scene such as the Humane Society, ARC and SICSA. The shelters are asking people to come and adopt animals that are already in their custody in order to help make room for all these new animals coming in.
Eighty-five cats and 45 dogs were inside the house at 6721 Spokane Drive. The Animal Resource Center and Huber Heights Police served a search warrant at the home at 8 a.m. and worked all day on the rescue.
County officials told 2 NEWS they received complaints from neighbors about the conditions at the home. Some of those neighbors who gathered to watch said this day has been a long time coming.
"Finally, this has been really the worst thing, and I've lived here over 40 years," said Anna Gibson.
The homeowner told 2 NEWS the animals were not neglected, although he admitted that he had too many for the space he had.
Officials said some of the animals have been found to have diseases, some of them treatable. They said some of the animals have ringworm and others may have flea infestation.
The Humane Society, SICSA, Huber Heights police officers and fire department personnel assisted with the rescue.
As of now, no charges are pending against the homeowner.
To find homes for the animals, Circle of Love was participating in adoption events at the PetSmart at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.
However, officials with PetSmart said the shelter was terminated as an in-store adoption partner in March, and was not allowed to conduct adoptions in the store starting in September of 2010 following complaints from people who adopted dogs with the Parvo virus.
The store asked "Circle of Love" to help adoptive parents pay for medical bills. According to PetSmart, "Circle of Love" did not respond in a way that satisfied the company.
Mark Madsen, who runs "Circle of Love" with his wife, said being banned from PetSmart helped add to overcrowding at the shelter.
Connie James and Mark Madsen pleaded no contest to one count of negligent animal cruelty and were found guilty.
At issue were the 131 cats and dogs taken last August from the Circle of Love Animal Shelter run by James and Madsen.
"Connie has a heart as big as this world and she took in a lot of animals to try to help them," says her attorney, Jon Paul Rion.
As part of the plea agreement James will be able to own animals again.
"That's a big part of this case," Rion says. "She loves animals and tonight she'll have the maximum number allowed by law."
That number is eight. That's not the only restriction she faces.
As part of a year probation she can't run another shelter and officials will be able to check her home to make sure she's not violating the agreement.
"We'll be monitoring this closely to make sure there are no repeat issues and we hope today's case and it's outcome is that animal cruelty will not be tolerated," says Mark Kumpf with Montgomery County's Animal Resource Center.
Aside from the year of restrictions, James will have to pay a $250 fine and has a 30 day suspended jail sentence in case she takes in more animals than allowed.
"You can only play the I didn't know any better card once and they played it today," Kumpf says.
Of the animals James owned, Kumpf says 71 of them were found new places to live while 60 had to be put down because of health or behavioral reasons.
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