About 240 animals, including a 14-foot snake, dozens of puppies and livestock, were seized Aug. 13 from a Jackson Township home after a monthslong investigation, according to Columbus Humane.

The animals were seized after search warrants were executed at the property at 3145 Demorest Road in the township and at Grove City Reptiles, a pet store at 3578 W. Broad St. on Columbus' West Side. An unknown number of animals also were seized from the pet store.

Columbus Humane began investigating after it received multiple reports of mistreatment of animals and concern for their well-being.

Humane agents executing the search warrants at the residential property found an estimated 240 animals in "devastating conditions," Columbus Humane CEO Rachel Finney said.

About 100 reptiles, including snakes and lizards; 90 dogs and puppies of various breeds, including a significant number of Corgis; and 50 livestock, including turkeys, goats, pigs and ducks, were seized from the residence, Finney said.

The 14-foot snake was being kept at the residence in violation of Ohio Department of Agriculture regulations, she said.

Franklin County auditor's records show the 1,637-square-foot residence is on about a half-acre. It has five rooms, including two bedrooms and one bath, and was built in 1936. There is also a 24-by-24-foot garage behind the home, auditor's records show.

In addition, the same property owner has an additional half-acre parcel containing a building reached via a drive from the Demorest property but it has an address on Anglebook Drive, auditor's records show.

The auditor's website shows the Demorest property was purchased May 25, 2017.

"Countless" animal remains also were found in the residence, Finney said.

"It changes you," Finney said of the workers who spent hours removing the animals.

About one-third of the animals in the pet store, which is run by the same couple who live in the residence, were seized. Humane officials could not provide an exact number of animals seized from the pet store.

Finney said the home was not a "puppy mill," but there had been a breeding operation there.

"It's incredibly disturbing," she said.

Humane agents had been to the residence before, but the conditions were not as bad, Finney said. Agents had given the owners recommendations to improve the care and condition of the animals.

Many of the animals found Aug. 13 hadn't had access to food or water, Finney said. Workers with Columbus Humane were evaluating each animal to determine its veterinary needs, and all the animals would be put on a treatment plan to give them proper care.

Columbus Humane said on social media Aug. 14 that the timeline for potential adoption of any animals involved in the seizure has not been determined.

"While Columbus Humane does have custody, we do not have ownership of the seized animals," the agency said in an online post. "Ownership will be decided in the upcoming court process ... updates on our social media pages will be shared if and when adoption opportunities arise."

Columbus Humane announced Aug. 15 it had temporarily suspended public animal surrenders at the shelter to deal with caring for the animals.

It is seeking donations of organic produce, including fresh leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots and apples. It also needs nonglossy newspaper and long shredded paper with no cross cut or staples, puppy pads, canned Iams puppy food and financial contributions to help with veterinary care.

Donations can be dropped off at the shelter at 3015 Scioto Darby Executive Court in Hilliard between 2 and 7 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends

An investigation into possible criminal charges is continuing, but no charges had been filed as of Aug. 15.

The seizure comes exactly one year after more than 600 birds were taken from a north Columbus residence by Columbus Humane, the largest seizure in the agency's history.

bbruner@dispatch.com

@bethany_bruner

cdoyle@dispatch.com

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