Ohio activist kills herself plus 31 dogs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2013: (Actually published on November 20, 2013.)
Sandra Lertzman, 62, was found dead with 31 dogs on November 8, 2013 in a running car in the garage of her home in Moreland Hills, Ohio, six days after she was last seen. Said to have been involved in animal rescue for 45 years, Sandra Lertzman styled herself executive director of the Animal Rights Foundation, but Guidestar, contracted by the IRS to share IRS Form 990 filings, shows no record of ARF. “Detectives found several prescription vials in the vehicle and a suicide note inside the house,” WOIO reported. Police said most of the dogs who died with Lertzman were puppies, and that one puppy survived. Lertzman also left 20 cats, who were taken in by Gina Lutes-Finley of Dogs Unlimited Rescue, said Kristin Anderson of WKYC. A posting to the ARF web site, however, said the dogs were all over eight years old and that Lertzman left only 10 cats. Lertzman’s husband Rick Lertzman, in January 2006 spoke for ARF in opposition to deer culling. Earlier, both Lertzmans were apparently associated with the Public Animal Welfare Society of Cleveland; Rick Lertzman was in January 2005 identified by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as the PAWS board president. Rick Lertzman has sought unsuccessfully since 1993 to introduce casino gambling to various sites around Ohio, including in connection with building a proposed horse racing track in Mahoning Valley, near Youngstown. A son, Thomas Lertzman, 20, also involved in animal issues, was killed in a June 2001 car crash. A second son, Matthew, survives.