Owner charged after 34 dogs rescued, one found dead in Michigan City home

Photo courtesy Michigan City Police

Photo courtesy Michigan City Police

Photo courtesy Michigan City Police

Photo courtesy Michigan City Police

Photo courtesy Michigan City Police

Terry Marthinsen

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. – A total of 35 dogs, 34 alive and one dead, were removed from a home in Michigan City on Friday.

According to Michigan City Police, officers received a report about a home in the 200 block of South Woodland Avenue that had numerous dogs inside the home barking. A foul odor coming from the home was said to be “perforating” the neighborhood.

An investigation was opened by Animal Control. Two animal control officers made contact with the owners of the home, who refused to open the door and speak to them.

The officers said there were eight or more dogs in the home. The allowed city ordinance is a maximum of three dogs.

Police say the female occupant, who spoke through a window, admitted to not having city licenses or rabies tags for the animals.

Eight city ordinance violations were written for “neglect of an animal”, eight for no city tags, and eight for no rabies certifications. A total of 24 violations were written, which the owners refused to sign.

Thursday, the La Porte County Adult Protective Services Unit contacted police about the female resident.

She was found on the back porch covered in urine, feces, maggots, and lice. She was taken to a nearby hospital and was listed in serious condition.

Officials obtained a warrant and searched the home where they found 34 dogs alive and one dog dead.

Most of the animals could not stand or walk; they were infested with fleas and suffered from feces infections. They were all taken to medical facilities and shelters.

Due to the risk of fleas, diseases, and “stench,” Hazmat suits and breathing gear was needed to search the home.

On Tuesday, the resident of the home, 67-year-old Terry Marthinsen, was charged with 35 counts of animal neglect, class A misdemeanors.

Police say the homeowner agreed to sign off ownership of the animals. They will be treated and may be adoptable in the future.

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