Puppies left in a suitcase gain worldwide interest, alleged owner in court

This is one of the six puppies that were found inside the abandoned suitcase.

On Friday, the man accused of stuffing six puppies into a suitcase and allegedly leaving them next to a trash bin in North Toledo appeared in court.

53-year-old Howard Davis now faces one count of animal cruelty and two counts of abandoning animals after allegedly leaving the puppies and their mother on April 4th.

"All this gentleman would have had to do is call us and say I have these dogs, I can't care for them and we would have made an appointment...The dogs would have got great care and he wouldn't be charged with a crime," Executive Director of the Toledo Area Humane Society John Dinon said.

During his court appearance, Davis entered a not guilty plea and was assigned a public defender.

Authorities say a luggage tag with Davis' contact information on the suitcase led them to him.

Davis said little else during Friday's hearing, but did tell a judge that he's retired.

The prosecutor in the case pointed out that Davis has two prior animal-related convictions from 2008.

According to The Toledo Blade, the charges are for failing to obtain liability insurance for vicious dogs and failing to keep a vicious or dangerous dog on a chain-link leash less than 6-feet long.

Still, the Toledo resident was released on supervised bond and will appear in court again on April 23rd at 9:30 a.m.

Meantime the puppies Davis allegedly left behind are in a foster home and doing well.

"It's become an international story. People sent me links to newspapers in Europe, South America and Asia," Dinon said.

The Executive Director at the Toledo Area Humane Society believes they've seen between 800 and 900 calls about the dogs in the last few days.

"I think between the fact it features cute dogs and dumb criminals it has two good hooks and people love these kinds of stories," Dinon added.

Dinon says while the animals will be ready for adoption in about 4 weeks, the puppies and their mother will remain in a foster home until the courts make a decision in the case.

While some have said they're willing to camp out so they can be first in line to adopt, Dinon is reminding those that are interested that there are plenty of animals available for adoption.

The Toledo Area Humane Society is also hoping all the extra attention, to their organization, will help them win the ASPCA's $100 K Challenge.

Until April 16th, community members are encouraged to vote for the Toledo Area Humane Society online.

The organization with the most votes has the chance to win between $5,000 and $125,000.