Mystery Surrounds Discovery of Dead Animals

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BENTLEYVILLE, Ohio – Dozens of animals were found dead in the snow at the Cleveland Metroparks, and the discovery has led to a criminal investigation.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says 25 Canada geese and eight mallards were found Wednesday afternoon. According to police reports, the animals appeared to have broken necks.

“There’s no superficial wounds to speak of right now, but they were dumped over a cliff at the Chagrin River at the South Chagrin Reservation,” said Jamey Emmert, spokesperson for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “This is a tricky one. We don’t know exactly how long the waterfowl were there and exactly what happened to them.”

The animals were taken a dead-end portion of Chagrin River Road, just a quarter-mile north of the township’s police department. Due to recent snowfall, investigators believe the animals were dumped on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We’re very concerned because of the way that the geese and ducks died next door there to us,” said Bentleyville Police Chief Timothy Pitts. “That’s something that’s never happened here before, so we’re alert. We’re going to be watching.”

If the animals were purposely harmed, the person responsible could face Federal charges, Pitts said.

The case is treated as a littering complaint until investigators get the results of an animal autopsy, Emmert said. ONDR will learn the case of death in a matter of weeks.

“It’s kind of an unusual situation in the fact that it could be a natural death, but the fact that there were that many birds out there together,” she said. “They didn’t appear sick. But we can’t rule anything out at this point.”

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife at (330) 245-303 or 1-(800)-POACHER. The department does take anonymous tips.

Also, Emmert said residents who are in need of help taking care of nuisance animals can also contact the Division of Wildlife for help.