Table of content    
  1. Two Accused Are Facing Charges Related To Animal Hoarding
  2. Details Of The Charges
  3. How Are The Rescued Animals?

This Mother And Her Daughter Arrested On Charge Of Animal Hoarding

The animal hoarding case involving Paula Metzler and her daughter Kristi Metzler has taken a serious turn with felony-level charges, including 11 counts of cruelty to companion animals and child endangerment. Paula's previous animal cruelty conviction adds gravity to the charges. Now, here are the details.

Paula Metzler, 55, and her daughter Kristi Metzler, 30, from Quaker City, are facing serious charges related to animal hoarding, with the case elevated to the felony level.

Arraigned before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Chris Berhalter, both pleaded innocent to multiple charges, including 11 fifth-degree felony counts of cruelty to companion animals, 13 second-degree misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals, cruelty to companion animals, and one first-degree misdemeanor charge of endangering children.

Judge Berhalter scheduled a pretrial hearing for October 30, a plea agreement deadline for November 13, and the trial for November 30. Paula Metzler's bond was set at $50,000, and Kristi Metzler's bond at $5,000.

Notably, Paula Metzler has a previous animal cruelty conviction in Belmont County. The charges stem from the discovery of multiple dead animals and the deplorable conditions inside their residence, with 12 living animals rescued by the Belmont County Hoof & Paw humane agency. The Metzlers are obligated to cover the costs of the animals' care.

The child endangerment charge against Paula Metzler involves her 19-year-old daughter, who has a disability.


Details Of The Charges

Authorities claim that the charge is related to the hazardous conditions of the house. Investigators allege that the Metzlers engaged in a scheme to move animals between their properties in Belmont and Guernsey counties, attempting to conceal the extent of their animal hoarding.

“What we were confronted with was essentially a horrific scene involving animal carcasses found on the property that was in the care and custody of Paula and Kristi Metzler. From there, felony charges originated under what is known as Goddard’s Law,” he said, referring to the law passed in Ohio in 2016 that makes it a felony of the fifth degree to cause serious physical harm to a companion animal.

Besides, Flanagan mentioned that previous Goddard’s Law cases led to lifetime bans on owning companion animals. Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan emphasized that, in previous animal cruelty cases against the Metzlers, they were not charged with violating Goddard’s Law or facing felony-level animal charges.

“There is a difference, obviously, between neglect and obviously causing serious physical harm to an animal,” Flanagan said


How Are The Rescued Animals?

Julie Larish, a humane agent with the Belmont County Hoof & Paw humane agency, provided updates on the rescued animals. While two poodles are slowly recovering and gaining weight, a Chihuahua puppy's condition remains uncertain due to malnourishment as a very young pup.

Larish expressed gratitude for the support from a skilled foster caregiver and noted positive progress in the health of other Chihuahuas with improved skin conditions. She added that a German shepherd and a Bernese mountain dog are also improving.

“They weren’t in as critical shape as the other dogs, but they were all in very bad shape,” Larish noted

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