SHELBY — In his eight years as the Richland County Dog Warden, Dave Jordan said he has never investigated a case as sickening as one he learned about in May.
With the help of community tips, a 31-year-old Shelby man has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty after authorities discovered an extensive history of sexual relations with his 3-year-old shepherd mix.
The News Journal does not name people charged with misdemeanor crimes.
Jordan said his office confiscated the man’s computer after allegations the man posted stories and photos of himself and multiple animals in the act.
Jordan said animals include three dogs and a horse, with posts dating back to 2006, and said felony charges could be filed.
The North Third Street man was arrested at his Mansfield workplace May 18 and charged with injuring animals, a second-degree misdemeanor, and companion animal prohibitions, a first-degree misdemeanor.
There is no law in Ohio that specifically prohibits bestiality.
Jordan said the man spent less than 24 hours in the Richland County Jail before posting bond. He pleaded innocent during his initial appearance in Shelby Municipal Court on May 27.
His pre-trial hearing is scheduled for the end of July.
Jordan said he secured a warrant to search the man’s apartment May 19. A female dog was removed from his care.
A local veterinarian examined the dog and discovered vaginal bruising.
“There are three dogs in question, but two have already been euthanized,” Jordan said.
Jordan said those dogs were put down by a veterinarian at the man’s request just over a year ago.
Reports show reasons for the euthanizations were “old age” and a “uterus infection.”
Jordan said the recently confiscated dog had been in the Richland County Dog Shelter before the latest charges.
“This was one of our own — which just makes me even sicker,” he said. “(The suspect) would come in here two to three times a week for about a half hour before we closed at night and walk dogs until he chose her.”
The shepherd was adopted May 7.
Jordan said the man had advertised dog walking and sitting services around Shelby and at the Mansfield dog shelter. He had more signs in his home.
Missy Houghton, director of the Richland County Humane Society, said she would be working with Jordan to enact a law prohibiting bestiality, at least in Richland County, once the case is closed.
“I think a lot of people just think this is something that doesn’t occur, but after some research, I discovered that there is a whole community of people who engage in these kinds of acts,” she said. “It’s very disconcerting, and I hope it opens lawmakers’ eyes and they realize this is something that needs addressed, and that they have the power to change it.”
Houghton said this is the first bestiality case the Humane Society has encountered.
The News Journal visited the man’s apartment Wednesday.
The man wasn’t at home, but his mother said she doubted he would want to comment.
The shepherd is being cared for at the shelter.
“There is nothing more horrible that I’ve seen in my career than this,” Jordan said. “It is just beyond belief what this guy has done.”