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Animal abandonment

Jail time for dog starvation case in Ashland, Ohio

State v. Michael Johnson, a case we prosecuted at the request of the Ashland County Humane Society, investigated by Ashland County Dog Warden, Tom Kosht.

Johnson was found guilty of two counts of companion animal cruelty for abandoning two dogs in a home without adequate food or water. One died of starvation. The other was dehydrated, but was successfully rehabilitated and has been adopted to a new, loving home.

Johnson tried to put the blame on a man named Louie Thompson who he said was paid $500 cash to care for the animals. However, Johnson could not locate Thompson, and the address he gave for Thompson had not been occupied for some time. Judge John Good told Johnson that he did not believe his story.

Johnson was sentenced to 90 days, the maximum jail sentence for a 2nd degree misdemeanor. He will begin serving that sentence next week. 90 additional days were suspended pending successful completion of 5 years’ probation. During that time, Johnson may not possess and companion animals. He was ordered to pay $500 in fines, $42 in restitution to the veterinarian, $125 restitution to the Ashland County Humane Society, and court costs.

I am pleased to report that Judge Good gave a strong message about the seriousness of animal neglect. It is our hope both Dog Warden Tom Kosht and Judge John Good of the Ashland Municipal Court will receive positive feedback from the community.


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Guilty verdict in kitten abandonment case, Ashland, Ohio

State v. Joyce Amos, a case investigated by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Department and the Ashland County Humane Society.  Defendant was convicted after trial of abandoning a 5 week old kitten by a dumpster at a veterinarian’s office.kitten RIP

Amos was seen at rear of the building after hours putting a live animal trap in her trunk.  The witness turned her car around to ask Amos what she was doing.  Before she was able to turn, Amos drove away, running  stop sign and proceeding at a high rate of speed.  The witness caught up, got the license number, and reported it to the Sheriff’s Department.

Amos admitted to the Deputy that she left the kitten by the dumpster.  She said that she was not the owner of the kitten, which she found abandoned on her porch.  She said she saw other kittens there, and a cat she assumed was a mother cat.  She assumed that either the mother cat would take in the kitten, or that the veterinarian would do so the next day.

The kitten, named “Firecracker,” was retrieved almost immediately.  Despite being provided with excellent care, it died within a few days.

The law provides that an “owner or keeper” of a domestic animal may not abandon that animal.  The central legal question was whether Amos was either an “owner” or a “keeper.”

Judge John Good pointed out that there are no other written appellate decisions which are directly on point on this legal issue in the State of Ohio.  He agreed with our position, that a person becomes the “keeper” of a domestic animal as soon as he/she voluntarily exerts control over it.  Amos was found guilty.  She was sentenced to $150 fine, plus restitution for fees to the  Veterinary Clinic in the amount of $170.50.

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