MIAMI COUNTY — The Concord Township homeowner found to be housing approximately 125 dogs in deplorable conditions last year was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $1,000 Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court.
In January, Larisa A. Solomon, 53, of Concord Township, entered pleas of guilty to one count of child endangering, a first-degree misdemeanor, and one count of committing an act of cruelty under the prohibitions concerning companion animals, a second-degree misdemeanor. As part of her plea agreement with prosecutors, the remaining charges in her case were dismissed, which included an additional child endangering charge and approximately 10 other charges of animal cruelty.
“This is simply something that got away from my client,” Solomon’s attorney Jose Lopez said during the sentencing hearing Tuesday. Lopez said Solomon had “no ill motive” and spent thousands on caring for the dogs.
“The animals were in generally good health,” Lopez said.
Solomon’s charges stemmed from unsanitary and unlivable conditions at the residence that Solomon shared with her two children and over 120 dogs last year. On May 6, 2019, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office and animal control officers from the Miami County Animal Shelter executed a search warrant at 3365 Peebles Road in Concord Township, where they discovered a puppy mill operation inside the home. The home was later condemned due to the unsanitary living conditions.
The animal shelter seized approximately 125 dogs, including many puppies, following that search warrant executed in May 2019. The homeowner relinquished the rights to 122 of the dogs, citing three were deemed family dogs. The remaining puppies and dogs, with the exception of the pregnant dogs, were all adopted within 48 hours from the shelter.
On Tuesday, Solomon said it was not her intention to hurt the dogs.
“It was just out of my hands,” Solomon said, adding she did not know where to turn for help. She said she was afraid to go to the Animal Shelter for help out of fear the dogs would be euthanized. “I am very sorry that it happened, and it was just out of my hands.”
“This case is incredibly difficult,” Miami County Municipal Court Judge Gary Nasal said. “The fact of the matter is this was not out of your hands. It was always in your hands.”
Nasal called the conditions of the home “appalling,” adding that it was “disgusting” that her two daughters were living there.
Nasal noted Solomon was dealing with mental illness that explained her behavior but did not excuse it. He said his first reaction was to impose the maximum jail sentence, but he did not think that would produce the greatest likelihood for rehabilitation.
Nasal also addressed Solomon not taking responsibility for her actions, saying she had a tendency to blame others.
“Stop it. It’s your fault,” Nasal said. “There may be explanations (for your behavior), but there are no excuses.”
Nasal imposed five years of community control for Solomon, during which time probation officers will be conducting in-home visits approximately every three months.
Solomon also received fines of $500 for each charge she pleaded guilty to, along with suspended jail time. Solomon was also ordered to complete 280 hours of community service and to complete any counseling recommended by health officials she is seeing. She was also ordered not to have anymore pets other than the three dogs that were deemed family pets. Those dogs were being held at the Animal Shelter since May of last year until Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
Solomon was also ordered to pay restitution of $955 to the animal shelter as part of the cost for caring for the dogs.