Animal rights activist an apparent suicide, found dead in car with dozens of dogs

Police in an affluent Cleveland-area suburb identified a woman found dead in her car with dozens of dead dogs as a long-time animal rights activist.

Moreland Hills police found Sandra Lertzman, 62, dead Monday in her running car, surrounded in her garage by 31 of her dogs, many of them puppies, WIOI 19 Action News reported Friday. Detectives found prescription vials in the car and a suicide note inside the house.

Police told the news that one puppy managed to survive by finding a corner of the garage to breath, implying that the other animals died by asphyxiation.

Lertzman was executive director of the Animal Rights Foundation, which served as a rescue and advocacy organization in northern Ohio. "ARF, through its network of dedicated volunteers will seek to rescue animals from dire situations, educate the public on how we can share our planet with all creatures, and to establish a NO Kill Sanctuary for ALL Animals," according to the group's website.

Watch a story about the case below.

19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports