YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Directors and humane agents with Animal Charity will be talking with prosecutors after making a disturbing find Wednesday in Youngstown.
Investigators went to a house on Waverly Avenue on the city’s west side after WKBN contacted the agency about tips we had received about a video circulating on social media. Investigators say the video showed a woman engaging in acts of bestiality with a pair of Shih Tzu dogs, one of which was pregnant with puppies.
“We served the search warrant, and we were able to confiscate not only the dogs but additional electronic information that hopefully will bring more information to light,” said Mary Louk, board president of Animal Charity of Ohio.
The dogs are being cared for at Animal Charity. Investigators are working with the Sheriff’s Office to see if there are more videos on the woman’s cell phone or tablet computer.
“We know the FBI’s said multiple times that crimes against animals turn into crimes against people. It’s that first step, so using that methodology, we’re looking to get some charges pressed, hopefully get her some help,” Louk said.
Directors say bestiality is considered a misdemeanor under Ohio law, but they also hope that animal cruelty charges are also filed against the owner.
Although humane agents say they do not believe the owner of the dogs was trying to sell the video they found, leaders of the Valley’s Human Trafficking Task Force admit that while they haven’t seen this type of activity online locally, they do come across all manner of problems online.
“It’s just very common, whether it’s child porn, the investigation that’s going on right now in Youngstown by Animal Charity, fraud, stealing people’s information, so forth and so on. It’s all a whole new realm of activity on the internet,” said Major Jeff Allen, with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
Allen said while investigators learn of a number of potentially disturbing sites online, not all of them are necessarily illegal.