Coolville woman speaks out after 100 dogs seized from home

COOLVILLE, Ohio (WTAP) - Bernice Robertson, 76, is speaking out after 100 dogs were seized from her home earlier this month.

"There's not much I can do except just say that it wasn't entirely the way it came out to be," the Coolville resident said.

Court documents state Robertson confined a large number of dogs inside a residential dwelling and failed to provide veterinary care, sufficient exchange of fresh air, normal grooming, and failed to clean fecal matter and urine from the residence.

She plead no contest to cruelty to companion animal, a misdemeanor charge.

Robertson says she lived by herself and did her best to maintain suitable living conditions for the animals.

"The dogs were treated fair," she said.

"They were fed, they were watered, they were taken care of, they had their own beds. There wasn't ever any time that I didn't take them to doctors. I've even got letters of proof that I took them to doctors."

Last fall, 43 dogs were spayed and neutered at the house.

Then earlier this month, a search warrant was executed at Robertson's home and the dogs were taken away.

Mary Beth Brown, the Athens County Dog Warden, say they received several complaints over the years about Robertson. Brown says temperatures inside the home reached more than 100 degrees and it was difficult to breathe.

Robertson said she wants her dogs back.

"They were good dogs and I took care of them. I just want them back. That's all."

After a judge ordered the dogs' release, they were taken to animal shelters in surrounding Ohio counties and also became available for adoption at the Athens County Dog Shelter.

Robertson was sentenced to 30 days in jail but the sentence was suspended.

Court documents say Robertson must not violate any local, state or federal laws for 2 years, abide by all counseling recommendations from Tri-County Mental Health or any court approved mental health agency for 2 years, and
have no companion animals for 5 years, except for the one dog she was allowed to keep.

Robertson asked that her home not be shown in the story. None of the homes or businesses in the video were involved with the case.

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