IRONTON, Ohio — Authorities are investigating the gruesome case of an Ohio animal hoarder found dead in his home.
Neighbors called the Lawrence County Ohio Sheriff's Office to check on the man after they hadn't seen him for a while.
When the deputy arrived at the house in Elizabeth Township Friday, he found the man upstairs. He'd been dead at least a couple weeks.
Lawrence County Dog Warden Benny Call said he'll never forget what he saw. "I've been to a lot of bad situations since I've been here," he said. "I believe this was the worst."
I've been to a lot of bad situations since I've been here. I believe this was the worst.
–Benny Call, Lawrence County dog warden
The floor of the home was covered in trash, feces and urine. Call said the man lived alone and had about 50 dogs.
Some of the dogs had starved to death; others had taken extreme measures to survive.
"Some of his body had been eaten," neighbor Charlie Jenkins said.
Some dogs were in such bad shape they had to be put down.
"It hurts when you see a dog like that," Call said.
Eight dogs were taken back to the Lawrence County Dog Shelter in Ironton. The dog warden said his agency had tried to help with the man's dogs, but the man always turned them away.
"He didn't want our help," Call said. "He'd just run us off if we went out there. He probably cared for the dogs, but he just got overwhelmed."
Call said there are still a few dogs that lived in the home that haven't been rounded up yet. Police also found several cats in a separate trailer on that property, some of which had died as well.
So far, authorities haven't found any relatives to notify.
"He just wanted to be by himself all the time, just be with his dogs," Jenkins said. "That was his life."