77 Dogs Surrendered to OH Shelter

An OH dog owner by the name of Gary Roberson took in homeless dogs and ended up with 77 of them.  His neighbors complained.  He tried moving to a new rental home but that didn’t work.  The new neighbors complained too and the landlord evicted him.  Now he’s surrendering the dogs to the local shelter and living in a tent in KY.  But why?  Photos of some of the dogs already surrendered show what appear to be healthy, well groomed dogs.  In fact:

According to [Butler County Chief Dog Warden Julie] Holmes, all of his dogs were licensed, cared for and kept as pets.

The director of the shelter where the dogs are being housed says:

“Mr. Roberson is doing the right thing by signing them over. It is important that people realize what their limitations are when caring for animals and don’t stretch themselves beyond their means.”

Is that the case here?  I don’t know.  But I don’t see any evidence to show that it is.  What I see is someone who cared so much about keeping his dogs, he moved to a new home.  I see someone who apparently kept his dogs well fed, groomed and sheltered.  I see an owner who licensed every last one of his 77 dogs even though he’s obviously not wealthy.  It seems like he very much wanted his dogs and was taking good care of his dogs.  If authorities were obligated to intervene, maybe they could have worked toward resolving the issues with the neighbors instead of having the owner surrender all the dogs.

And now, the inevitable complaints from the shelter accepting the dogs:

Butler County’s animal shelter is “busting at the seams” as a former Hamilton man continues to turn over his 77 licensed dogs, according to Animal Friends Humane Society Director Meg Stephenson.


But what’s really needed is for people to adopt the animals that were already there as they continue processing the new dogs, Stephenson said. “People who contact us about these specific animals don’t really help us at this point.”

Stupid, compassionate public.  By hearing about a news story that says 77 dogs need new homes and then stepping up to help, you are really trying our patience.

Remind me again why it was a good thing to remove these pets from their home?

16 thoughts on “77 Dogs Surrendered to OH Shelter

  1. “Remind me again why it was a good thing to remove these pets from their home?”
    Um, because the least whiff of a problem and he’d have been accused of animal abuse/cruelty, the dogs seized, judgment against him rubber stamped, and the shelter would still get it’s money as middle man…?

    “Stupid, compassionate public.”
    Agreed. Stupid intolerant neighbors too.

  2. NO KIDDING.. why are dogs who are able to be “adopted” ( sometimes for hundreds of dollars) two days after being taken called “rescued’.. I agree .. these dogs were cared duly licensed and not in jeopardy.. If he wanted to place them .. then he should get the MONEY so maybe he can move back into a home instead of a tent..
    by the way.. why does a dog need a license? I have “googled” this question.. what comes up.. the fact that a dog needs on.. no reason why.. with rabies tags and microchips why does a dog need to be “registered”? Why not call it what it is.. a dog tax.. plain and simple.

  3. well…

    a local rescue i was trying to help out is run by a woman who lives in a modest three bedroom house in the middle of a city with a small fenced in back yard. She has 8 of her own dogs and 24 dogs within her rescue system right now. she houses a majority of the dogs as fosters. I believe the story of Mr. Roberson is her imminent future. her neighbors complain about her all. the. time.
    She’s been inspected numerous times but all her dogs are licensed, they all have crates, and they all have clean water and food – so she passes inspection.

    On one hand, this quote speaks volumes to me:
    “It is important that people realize what their limitations are when caring for animals and don’t stretch themselves beyond their means.”

    On the other, I agree with you. These dogs look to be well cared for… and for all they knew whatever situation Mr. Roberson had for them was what they knew as “home”.

    I guess the Mayberry in me hopes the dogs end up in homes more capable of giving them individualized attention and care. But the reality is some will not meet that end.

    I wish that the powers in that town were more compassionate and creative and found resources to help Mr. Roberson maintain his dogs appropriately, but we don’t live in a perfect world and perhaps he was truly struggling to make it work from day to day.

    I can’t imagine one person caring for 77 dogs! Kudos to him for trying.

  4. I don’t see what the bitching is about.

    The man was trying to keep 77 dogs in a residential area and care for all of them himself. I Googled Millikin Road in that township, and it is almost all subdivisions. So gee, THE NEIGHBORS COMPLAINED!

    Yah think? Could there possibly have been an issue with noise and smell that prevented his neighbors from enjoying their property?

    I see a story about a man with more animals than he could continue to support or care for who made the right decision to give them up before his situation became a house of horrors (or a tent of horrors). Rare case. The animals aren’t starving and coated in feces. So he should have kept them until they were?

    I have an idea. Everyone who thinks it was just awful that this man “had to” relinquish his 77 special pets should buy the house next door to their own and invite him to move in.

    1. I have no idea what the nature of the complaints were but let’s say for the sake of argument they were 100% legit. I can think of a bunch of different solutions to the problem that don’t involve turning 77 pets over to a shelter who blames the public for not adopting the ones already there. My issue is – Were other options (such as placing dogs individually and/or reaching out to rescues) explored? It just galls me they would force this guy out onto the street (tent) and make it so he couldn’t care for any dogs when the shelter obviously is not in the business of maintaining a harmonious relationship w/the community.

      1. I don’t see where the shelter is *blaming* the public for anything, in all honesty. And I’m also not seeing where it says that the dogs were in any way seized or taken from him. He got evicted and chose to turn the dogs over. How is that the shelter’s fault? I agree with H. Houlahan- should he have waited until the dogs were in bad shape? He realized he was in over his head. The shelter is supposed to be there to give shelter and help in times like this. But I imagine most shelters would be overwhelmed by a huge intake of dogs all at one time.

        Sometimes I feel like people get so caught up in shelter-hating that they don’t see what’s really there and really being said and done.

      2. I don’t know how or why anyone could possibly get caught up in shelter-hating. Unless of course the shelters as a group had been very annoying, dishonest, and a clear and present danger to human rights and precious lives.

    1. I’m sure you are right about the neighborhood but you know what? This guy TRIED. He tried apparently very hard to care for and keep these discarded dogs. And he didn’t blame the public while doing it. In fact, he paid for licenses for every one of them and aside from the neighbor complaints, he seemed to be doing a pretty decent job of caring for the dogs. I say: HELP people like this. Don’t evict them and force them to surrender their dogs. I think I’d rather work for this guy than for that local shelter.

  5. So what are the “shelter’s” limitations? I’ve lived in places where I had more means for keeping animals than the local shelter did. Some shelters aren’t as good as a suburban back yard. Or is that “most”? They’ll kvetch when it’s just five dogs. Five dogs can sleep in a living room, let alone a big back yard.

  6. It isn’t about how many dogs.. it is about the shelter getting the money.. and using this man as a poor example of caring for dogs.. he was doing a good job.. when he became overwhelmed.( if he did). why not help him place the dogs DIRECTLY from his home.and allow him to share in the profits…then maybe he could have stayed in his home.. and still have a few dogs.. HELP .. not steal and then trash him..that is what “humane” people do..or what they should do..

  7. just wanted to add here – yesbiscuit’s comment on kc dog blog – suggests what I think is a brilliant idea..A 6-month moratorium on the killing of healthy/treatable, friendly pets in shelters?

    And I will add if HSUS wants to make amends and win hearts again…well they could take the lead…redemption?

  8. I have 2 adult dogs. This month I fostered 3 puppies, age 1 month, for about 10 days. I enjoyed he experience but by the time the 10 days were through I was exhausted!

    This gentleman kept 77 dogs. You ask to be reminded why the dogs were not allowed to stay with him. Here’s why. Because no person on earth is capable of keeping 77 dogs and giving them the care, exercise, and discipline they need and deserve. Not even the Dog Whisperer! Unless he had at least 3 other people helping him on a regular basis I don’t see how it would be possible for him to give adequate care and maintain a sanitary environment for those dogs.

    Not to mention the noise and smell the neighbors would have to put up with. Those dogs were not living in a ‘home’. They were being warehoused.

  9. Katie Says:
    June 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Katie – My take was different than yours. I do indeed feel the shelter was blaming the public when the director said something along the lines of “you people are not helping by calling about rescuing these dogs”.
    As far as the owner willingly turning over the dogs, I think it’s obvious how very much he wanted to keep them by the fact that he MOVED in order to do so.
    Just because I am unhappy with how this situation turned out does not in any way suggest that I believe he should have waited to surrender the dogs until they were all malnourished and neglected. First of all, we don’t know if that ever would have happened. Secondly, if someone is taking in homeless dogs and, aside from neighbor complaints, doing a good job caring for them, this is someone I want to HELP. Not only was he taking in the community’s pets and caring for them, he didn’t KILL any of them in doing so. So I’d say he’s way ahead of the local kill shelter. One idea: Maybe they could have offered him a job as a consultant so they could learn how to take care of pets instead of killing them. And then they could work together on getting him into another living situation where he could better accommodate the dogs or assist him with rehoming the dogs until he got the number down to a level the neighbors found acceptable.

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