CLEVELAND – A utility worker made a gruesome discovery on the city's east side -- two abandoned dogs that had frozen to death, Action News' Paul Orlousky reported.
After taking their bodies away from the yard where they died, Cleveland's Animal Protective League determined that the bitter cold killed the dogs that had been starved nearly to death.
The deaths of the dogs, named King and Queen, touched some people in the Russell Avenue neighborhood, the APL and even hardened police officers, like Sgt. Terry Hageman.
"They look to have been starved rather than frozen," Hageman said.
The Cleveland Police Department is trying to determine who is responsible for the deaths. When the dogs' owner went to jail recently, some said that his girlfriend, Myla Reynolds, was left in charge.
"She was coming to see about them, and then she stopped," said Cecil Bey, the man who made the discovery.
Speaking to Action News, Reynolds denied that she was responsible for the dogs' deaths.
Reynolds said that the people in the home were in charge. When Action News entered the filth-encrusted hallway leading upstairs, however, the people inside gave a similar denial.
What is known is that the dogs would be alive if a simple APL rule was followed.
"If someone can't take care of their animals, they should turn them into a shelter," APL spokeswoman Susan Ross said.
In this case, protruding ribs, and the lack of adequate shelter never prompted anyone to turn the dogs in.
Troubling to some is the fact that whoever is responsible would face only a minor misdemeanor if convicted. The police prosecutor would make that call.
On Thursday, the Ohio House voted on a bill that would increase the penalty for animal abuse, in some cases to a felony. Action News was instrumental in getting lawmakers together to draft this legislation.