Holiday stress leads to spike in animal abuse cases - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Holiday stress leads to spike in animal abuse cases

"Monte" is in a foster home after being rescued from abuse (Source: WOIO) "Monte" is in a foster home after being rescued from abuse (Source: WOIO)
Lake Humane officials say abuse cases rise during the holidays (Source: WOIO) Lake Humane officials say abuse cases rise during the holidays (Source: WOIO)
Leanne Pike rescued Monte from abusive situation (Source: WOIO) Leanne Pike rescued Monte from abusive situation (Source: WOIO)
Leanne Pike is the only humane agent in Lake County (Source: WOIO) Leanne Pike is the only humane agent in Lake County (Source: WOIO)
Donations and adoptions help the most during the holidays (Source: WOIO) Donations and adoptions help the most during the holidays (Source: WOIO)
LAKE COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -

During the holidays, more and more animals are looking for homes as abuse cases are on the rise.

Leanne Pike is staying busy in Mentor. She is the only humane agent in Lake County.

"Basically, I spend a lot of time on the road, responding to complaints," Leanne said.

She has two dogs and three cats at her own home, but she knows firsthand that not all pets have a loving home.

This year, Leanne has covered 300 cases. She investigates complaints ranging from dogs tied up outside to abandoned pets and hoarding cases.

"It's certainly not for the faint-hearted, so you have to have thick skin to get through the job that you have to do and then deal with the emotional part of it later," Leanne said.

The holidays can be the toughest time of year. She gets a lot of animal abuse complaints at her office inside the Lake Humane Society.

Recently, a four-month old puppy named Monte had to fight to stay alive after being abused by his owner.

Leanne says the owner of the Shih-Tzu punched him in the face and threw him across the room.

This happened in front of police and the man was arrested. Leanne then spent six hours trying to find the puppy after he disappeared.

"The second I pulled him out of the situation, you could barely touch him because he was so terrified and hurt. But now he's just a typical puppy," she said.

CLICK HERE TO REPORT SUSPECTED ANIMAL NEGLECT OR CRUELTY

The Lake Humane Society took him in, and now he's living with a foster family who hopes to adopt him.

Leanne hopes she won't get too many more calls like that as Christmas nears.

"Things around Thanksgiving, Christmas-- that time frame is super busy and stressful for people. So I do see an increase on those kinds of stressful situations impacting the animals," she said.

There are two ways you can help animal shelters during the holidays: you can donate or adopt a pet.

Humane agents are paid through the Lake Humane Society, not the county, so Leanne's job is dependent on donations. 

CLICK HERE if you would like to help.

The number to call to report suspected animal neglect or cruelty in Lake County is (440) 951-6122, ext. 105

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