If Britny and Douglas DeVaul do not pay Columbus Humane toward the costs of care for the animals seized from their residence and a West Broad Street pet shop they operate by Oct. 15, the animals could be available for adoption as early as the end of October.
Five animals considered personal pets of a Jackson Township couple who had more than 240 animals seized from their Demorest Road residence and their Petting Zoo Pet Shop on West Broad Street were ordered to be returned to the couple as part of an ongoing animal cruelty case.
Both of the DeVauls have been charged with multiple counts of prohibition against companion animals in Franklin County Municipal Court as a result of the Aug. 13 seizure of the animals. The animals included about 100 reptiles, 90 dogs and puppies and about 50 livestock.
Columbus Humane officials have said the couple were operating a dog and reptile breeding and puppy-brokering business.
In addition to the live animals, the remains of more than 30 animals were found at the Demorest Road property. The couple also runs a taxidermy business out of their residence, according to records.
As part of the ongoing criminal case, the animals are not yet available for adoption.
During a hearing Sept. 27, Judge Stephanie Mingo found probable cause for the removal of 161 of the animals. Five additional animals -- three dogs and two cats -- are considered personal pets and were ordered to be returned.
Ohio law defines companion animals as dogs, cats and any animals housed in a dwelling. There were some reptiles and a hedgehog in the couple's residence, which qualifies them as companion animals for the purposes of the charges filed against the DeVauls.
The DeVauls have the option of paying for the costs associated with the first 30 days of care for the other animals if they would like the option of possible ownership when the case is over.
Columbus Humane said the cost for the 161 animals involved in the first case totaled more than $98,000 for the first month of their care, but the DeVauls can pay the costs for individual animals. That payment is required by Oct. 15.
"It's not a guarantee they'll get the animals back," said Rachel Finney, director of Columbus Humane.
If the DeVauls do not pay any money toward the animals by Oct. 15, the agency would take ownership of the dogs, cats and the reptiles found inside the couple's residence. The animals within that group that are healthy enough to be adopted would be available for adoption in mid-to-late October.