Manager arrested, 30 cats rescued from Middletown animal sanctuary

(Butler County Sheriff's Office)
(Butler County Sheriff's Office)

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WLWT) — A Butler County woman was arrested after authorities said 30 cats were rescued from an animal sanctuary she ran in Middletown.

Leslie Martin, 31, was charged with cruelty to a companion animal after sheriff’s deputies and the county dog warden searched Heart’s Rescue Sanctuary on Breiel Boulevard, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities found 49 cats at the sanctuary. Most had infections and diseases and five had to be euthanized, Deputy Dog Warden Kurt Merbs said. Twenty-five other cats were removed from the sanctuary, and the 21 that remain are being cared for by different personnel.

“These animals were supposed to be cared for by rescue businesses. It’s the basis of their existence. It’s not a good day when my employees have to rescue animals from a place of rescue,” said Sheriff Richard Jones.

The Sheriff’s Office said that Martin had received warnings about the sanctuary. Several recent posts on the sanctuary’s Facebook page ask for donations to move the rescue from the shopping center due to zoning restrictions.

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