Couple charged with animal cruelty

MARIETTA – Forty-eight animals – four dogs and 44 cats – were removed from a home on Wells Avenue in Marietta Friday after a complaint that two dead kittens were lying in the street in front of the residence and a foul odor was emanating from the house.

“The owners were charged with animal cruelty. Arrangements were also made to remove two children from the home until it is cleaned,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Ed Wright, 54, and his wife, Kari Wright, 44, of 112 Wells Ave. were charged with animal cruelty and child endangerment following an investigation by Washington County Dog Warden Kelly McGilton, who was alerted to the situation by a neighbor’s phone call.

Ed Wright is a retired Marietta police officer and works for the city wastewater department.

“The caller was out walking her dog and advised me that there were two dead kittens lying in the road directly in front of 112 Wells Ave.,” McGilton said. “She also said there was a bad odor coming from the residence.”

Responding to the address, McGilton said the smell was overpowering.

“I parked my car two houses away and could still smell it,” she said. “It was unbelievable.”

McGilton asked the Wrights about the dead kittens and was told they had been hit by a car, but the animals had since been removed from the roadway.

The couple also told McGilton they owned two dogs, but after obtaining a warrant to search the premises, the warden discovered a total of four dogs and 44 cats that had to be taken from the home.

McGilton said the cats had urine scalding or sores on their paws due to unsanitary conditions in the home.

“The dogs were immediately transported to the veterinarian and were found to have urine scalding and skin sores. (A) black Shih Tzu had to remain in the care of the veterinarian because it was so severely matted that is had to be sedated to be shaved,” she wrote in a report of the incident.

When she entered the home McGilton said her eyes burned from the powerful odor of animal urine and feces.

“There were food items, garbage and other miscellaneous items thrown throughout this room. There were ants crawling on dirty dishes and food wrappers,” she reported. “The kitchen area had cat and dog feces and urine covering the floors, countertops, appliances and walls. The subfloor was exposed in this area and was spongy from the amount or urine that soaked through. There were cats on top of the freezer, countertops, and even one sleeping on the stove.”

Because of the living conditions, Washington County Children Services was contacted and the Wright’s two children, ages 11 and 12, were sent to live with their grandmother until the home is cleaned up.

McGilton said the animals were surrendered by the Wrights and have been put up for adoption.

She said the couple has had past issues with their animals, but when help with spaying and neutering was offered, they refused.

McGilton said the Wrights were not arrested, but will appear in court on the animal cruelty charge, which is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail.

The second-degree misdemeanor child endangerment charge carries a maximum $750 fine and or 90 days in jail.