MANTUA, Ohio – Investigators with the Portage County Animal Protective League continue to work to determine the cause of death of more than 140 dogs found dead in a home owned by a founder and President of an animal rescue.
Canine Lifeline identified Barbara Wible and said in a written release that she, “Was hospitalized after having been found collapsed in her home.”
After first responders responded to her home due to this medical emergency, an investigation was triggered that uncovered overwhelming evidence of ongoing fatal animal neglect in both her current Parma residence as well as her former home in Mantua.
“No volunteers were aware of any medical conditions that Wible had been diagnosed with prior to this most recent hospitalization, nor were any aware of the number of dogs she harbored, nor the condition of her home,” Canine Lifeline said in the release.
Fox 8 News caught up with Wible in 2012 at an adoption event in Macedonia while recording a “hometown hero” news segment.
At the time, Fox 8 was told that the charity was bringing in dogs from as far away as southern Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, hoping to find them good homes. The charity said it has helped rescue more than 6,000 animals since it was founded in 2009.
The Portage APL on Tuesday did not comment on its investigation or answer any questions about whether or not there were ever any calls to Wible’s Mantua home.
Neighbors, however, said last summer a delivery driver brought his concerns to the attention of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
Fox 8 News also learned that the APL may have removed dozens of dogs from the home last summer.
A neighbor also said she has not seen anyone at the home since last October.
“It was very windy in the fall and so branches fell down over the driveway and I could tell they had been there and not crushed so I knew there was no traffic in or out,” said the neighbor who asked to go only by the name Mary Ellen.
In its statement, volunteers with the charity said Wible was a very private person and that they had never been to her homes in Parma or Mantua.
Why she had so many dogs at her private residence is still not known.
A tax document filed with the IRS by Canine Lifeline in 2019, the last year for which there is a filing on behalf of the charity, shows revenues of more than $190 thousand, with expenses of more than $200 thousand for an operating loss of more than $9,000.
As of Tuesday, with the investigation continuing, no charges had yet been filed against anyone.