Sarma Orlowski is the chief livestock investigator for the Humane Society of Greene County. Orlowski takes in animals that have been seized as part of an investigation by the sheriff’s office. Officials are looking for more volunteers willing and able to take in animals. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Volunteers needed for seized animal cases in Greene County

After four horses were seized by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office as part of an animal neglect case, Sarma Orlowski took them in.

Orlowski, the chief livestock investigator for the Humane Society of Greene County, has fed and cared for them at her Beavercreek Twp. farm. They were suffering from malnutrition and parasites.

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“Once you get the parasite load out of them, then they’re clean and you can start putting them out to pasture,” Orlowski said. “It’s nice seeing the turnaround. They become workable.”

Now the Greene County Sheriff’s Office is looking for more people like Orlowski.

Orlowski is among the volunteers willing and able to transport and potentially foster horses, livestock and other animals seized in investigations.

“In the middle of the night, if horses get loose, sometimes we can’t get ahold of nobody to come get the horse. We don’t have the means to transport the horses ourselves,” Greene County Sheriff’s Detective Duane Gilbert said. “We’re looking for volunteers who may come out at 2 o’clock in the morning and load up a horse and just take it to their house.”

Gilbert said investigators often just need a place for seized animals where they can be housed overnight until the owner is contacted.

Gilbert said cases like those involving the four horses, which needed special care after fending for themselves on a Bath Twp. farm for years, don’t happen very often.

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“We want to be proactive and ready to, instead of having to make 5,000 phone calls and frantically find somebody, we can go to a list, ‘Hey, are you available?’ … It would just be a lot quicker process for everybody and to get the animals to safety,” he said.

“We’ve had horses get loose, we’ve had cattle get loose, sheep loose, I mean animals get loose. We need to secure them so that they don’t harm themselves or the public.”

Gilbert said caring for the animals protects the public too, citing a previous incident when horses that were loose caused crashes and shut down I-71.

“They need to be fairly knowledgeable about animal husbandry,” Orlowski said. “Like Caesar Milan, they need to have a click with the animal. Just loving animals isn’t going to do it because you’re going to make horrible, ghastly mistakes. With a large animal that could be lethal.”

When asked why she volunteers to care for abandoned and neglected horses, Orlowski said “because I can.”

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“I’ve got the facility. I’ve got the space. It’s maybe not ideal, but it certainly works,” she said. “You can do it, and you feel good about it, seeing the change. Even if you don’t confiscate, that’s even better. To see the change and the people coming around and the animals working out. Yeah, that’s good.”

Two of the four horses are ready to adopt. Those interested should contact the humane society at (937) 376-3001.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call Detective Gilbert at (937) 562-4813.

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