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Over $17,000 Restitution Ordered for Care of Neglected Horses

State v. Patricia Floyd, a case we prosecuted which was investigated by Animal Charity of Ohio. Floyd pled guilty to 4 counts of animal cruelty for neglecting 7 horses. Two had extremely long hooves, several were dehydrated or excessively thin, and all were living in filthy conditions. Horses require regular hoof trimming by a qualified farrier. Lack of proper care can lead to this severe and painful deformity.

The horses were all surrendered. Floyd was ordered by the Youngstown Municipal Court to pay $17,400 in restitution to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary who did an excellent job rehabilitating these animals. Floyd will be subjected to random inspections for 5 years, and may not possess any animals other than two dogs she already possessed, which were in good condition.

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Owner Convicted for Neglecting Dog’s Severe Skin Condition

State v. Christopher Overton, a case we prosecuted in Youngstown investigated by Animal Charity of Ohio, the Humane Society which serves Mahoning County.

Mr. Overton had three dogs. Two were in good condition. The third had an extreme untreated skin condition which caused large sections of skin to be red, raw and bloody. Blood and flesh were found on the collar when it was removed.

Overton surrendered the dog to Animal Charity. Today he plead guilty to companion animal cruelty. Overton will be on probation for three years, and will be subjected to random inspections to make sure that he is providing proper care for his remaining dogs. He is not permitted to have other animals. He will pay $500 for the rehabilitation and care of this dog. If he violates any of these terms, he may be ordered to serve up to 90 days in jail.

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Horse Abandonment Case Resolved

State v. Robert Hibberd, a case we prosecuted for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.

Hibberd was convicted today of animal abandonment. Here is the after photograph of his horse, named Treasure. Several months after seizure, the horse was in excellent weight and condition with ordinary care.

Judge Riley of the Montgomery County Municipal court sentenced Hibberd to 90 days jail, suspended upon successful completion of 5 years’ probation. Defendant will pay $4,300.00 in restitution for the care of the horse. While on probation, Defendant may not own, possess or live on a property with equines or other farm animals and will be subject to random inspections.

Treasure After Recovery

Treasure, Healthy After Months of Recovery

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Jail Time and Community Service Sentence for Animal Neglect Case

State of Ohio v. Travis Wargo and Cari Welk, a case prosecuted for Lake Humane Society.

Wargo and Welk both pled guilty to animal neglect. The case involved two cats, Liam and Logan, and a dog, Lily, that were kept in deplorable conditions.The animals suffered from various untreated medical conditions. While the other animals were of good weight, Liam the cat was so painfully emaciated that when offered dog treats by the Humane Agent, he scarfed them so fast he was throwing up while he was eating them.

Both Defendants were sentenced to 5 years of probation, during which time they cannot own or harbor any animals. Lake Humane Society will conduct inspections to ensure compliance. Wargo and Welk will have to pay court costs and $3,030.00 in restitution for care of the animals to Lake Humane. Both Wargo and Welk were sentenced to serve 4 days in jail or complete 4 days of community work service. If they fail to comply with these conditions, Wargo will face an additional 356 days in jail and Welk 86 days.

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24 Animals Found in Filthy Conditions, Owner Sentenced to 5 years Probation

State of Ohio v. Sheri (Shari) Gilbert, a case prosecuted for Lake Humane Society.

Gilbert pled guilty to all 10 counts of animal neglect on the day of trial. 24 animals, including dogs, cats, parrots, a guinea pig, and ferrets, were seized from Gilbert’s home. The animals were kept in deplorable conditions and suffered from a variety of medical conditions. The foul smell of the residence was described as “beyond words.”

Gilbert was sentenced to 5 years of probation, during which time she cannot own, keep, or reside with any animal. She will undergo random inspections by Lake Humane to ensure that she is not harboring any animals. She must undergo a mental health assessment and complete recommended treatment. Gilbert paid $4,500 for the care of the 24 animals and must pay court costs. If she fails to comply with these conditions, she will face 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Alla

Alla, one of the dogs rescued by Lake Humane, was successfully treated and adopted.

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Owner Pleads Guilty to Starving Dog

State of Ohio v. Robert Dunning, a case prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Dunning was charged with one count of companion animal neglect for the starvation of his dog, Buster. Buster was found outside with filthy water and no food. He was emaciated and severely dehydrated. This case occurred prior to the enactment of new sheltering ordinances in the City of Cleveland.

Dunning plead to the count and was found guilty. He must surrender all of his current animals to the APL and cannot own or keep any animal for a period of 5 years. He will undergo random inspections to ensure compliance. Dunning was also fined $750, the maximum fine for a second degree misdemeanor, and must pay court costs. $500 of the fine and 90 days in jail were suspended and will be imposed if he violates the terms of his probation.

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A Cluttered Van in the Hot Sun is not a Humane Place to keep 17 Chickens.

State v. Sandra Rae Paul, a case we prosecuted for the Loudonville Police, with help from the Humane Society of Ashland County Ohio, was ound guilty of animal cruelty yesterday, and taken to jail.

The evidence showed that the chickens were left in the van for at least 7.5 hours on a day when temperatures were in the mid-80s without shade for the vehicle. The chickens appeared to be lethargic. One died later that night.

Veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Ferry testified that under these conditions, temperatures would reach 130-140 degrees within 40 minutes. She said the chickens would certainly be suffering and would be in danger of heatstroke.

Judge John Good concluded that the vehicle did not provide shelter from sun, but instead amplified the effects of the sun, creating a “death trap.” He scolded the Defendant for blaming the situation on everyone else and taking no responsibility.

The Defendant was sentenced to 30 days in jail for failing to appear, 20 more days for the offense, and will have 70 additional days hanging over her head during 2 years’ probation. During that time, she is prohibited from possessing farm animals, including fowl, and is subject to random inspections.

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Maximum Community Service Sentence for Summit County Animal Neglect Case

State of Ohio v. Sandra Kay Benedum, a case prosecuted for Pawsibilities Humane Society of Greater Akron and also handled by the Summit County Dog Warden.

Benedum, 70, pled guilty to two counts of companion animal neglect regarding 1 dog named Tibet. Tibet had multiple open wounds filled with hundreds of maggots when Benedum brought him to the dog warden for euthanasia. 11 days earlier, Benedum called her veterinarian to complain that Tibet’s odor was making her kids sick, but did not bring the dog in for treatment.

Benedum is banned indefinitely from owning, keeping, or possessing any animal. She will undergo 5 years of probation, during which time she must comply with inspections by the humane society or other law enforcement. She must also complete 400 hours of community service, the maximum for second degree misdemeanors, and pay court costs. If she violates those terms, she faces 180 days in jail.

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Three Bills Signed into Law Concerning Animals’ Protections

Governor John Kasich recently signed three important bills into law that concern protections for this state’s animals. Here is a brief summary of each bill:

(1) SB 215: Grants good faith rescuers immunity from civil liability for damages incurred while using necessary force to enter a locked motor vehicle to help an animal or minor child who is in imminent danger of suffering harm. Rescuers must follow certain steps before and after breaking into a vehicle, which include making a good faith effort to contact law enforcement first, contacting law enforcement after the animal/child has been removed from the vehicle, and leaving information on the vehicle that notifies the owner of the rescuer’s contact information, location of the animal/child, and that authorities have been notified. The rescuer must also remain with the animal/child in a safe location until law enforcement or emergency responders arrive.

(2) HB 60 (“Goddard’s Law”): Makes knowingly causing serious physical harm to a companion animal (a cat, dog, or other animal living in a residential dwelling) chargeable as a fifth degree felony. Under current law, offenders can only be charged with a fifth degree felony for a second act of “knowing” companion animal cruelty or if the offender is an owner, manager, or employee of a dog kennel that commits a first act of “knowing” companion animal cruelty.

HB 60 also allows humane societies to use fines awarded through animal cruelty convictions to provide additional training for existing humane agents, increases the penalties for killing a police dog or horse, and requires development of resources that will help veterinarians identify clients that use animals to improperly obtain opioid drugs.

Unfortunately, HB 60 was amended to prohibit humane societies, the main enforcers of Ohio’s animal protection laws, from using an appointed animal cruelty prosecutor to handle these new felony cases.

(3) HB 187: Allows certain emergency responders to provide basic, stabilizing care to an injured dog or cat before they are transferred to a veterinarian for treatment. HB 187 protects those responders from civil liability and criminal prosecution if they acted in good faith and without willful misconduct. Veterinarians are also protected from liability or professional disciplinary action as a result of care provided by an emergency responder.

Each law will go into effect 90 days after its signing.

Animal law

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Goddard’s Law (HB 60) Summary After Amendment – Ohio Animal Cruelty Bill

Goddard’s Law was originally introduced in 2013 as House Bill 274. Reintroduced in 2015 as House Bill 60, Goddard’s Law has undergone significant changes from its original form. Here is a summary chart of Goddard’s Law as passed by the House and under consideration by the Senate: Holland & Muirden’s Summary of Goddard’s Law

As drafted, an amendment to this bill weakens the ability of our local humane societies to enforce animal cruelty laws and may actually stop humane societies from prosecuting felony animal cruelty altogether. The bill no longer covers egregious acts of neglect, such as starvation and failure to provide veterinary treatment, that result in the animal’s death. If you support felony provisions for the most egregious acts of animal cruelty, contact your Senator and ask them to support the language and intent of House Bill 274.

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