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animal cruelty

Jail Time for Farm Animal Cruelty in Boston Township

State v. Ionel Jura; a case we prosecuted which was investigated by the Humane Society of Greater Akron and the Peninsula Police.

Jura was convicted after a two day jury trial of all 9 counts of animal cruelty and one count of animals at large for neglecting to provide proper care for 10 goats and a calf at his property in Boston Township.

The adult animals were tied up outside with ropes and chain on a hot, humid day in June without shade or access to water. Some leads were tangled severely restricting the animals’ movement. One adult goat and a kid were tangled or had legs caught in a pile of lumber with protruding nails. Most of the animals were excessively thin, and suffering from dehydration and other parasites, including lice, The examining veterinarian concluded that they were all at risk of dying from heat stroke, given their weakened body condition and the weather.

The animals were seized and eventually surrendered by the Defendant to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary.

The Defendant was sentenced to 90 days in jail on each of 9 counts of cruelty, and 30 days on the animals at large count. All jail time was suspended, contingent upon the Defendant’s successful completion of 5 years’ probation. During that time, he is prohibited from keeping farm animals on any property he owns or controls. Humane officers have authority to inspect the premises to ensure compliance. He is also required to complete a course in farm animal care, at least 8 hours in duration, and to complete 150 hours of community service for the Humane Society. Total fines were $4,750, of which all was suspended except for $950. Restitution was ordered to Happy Trails in the amount of $1,200.

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Cat Crossing Operators Pled Guilty to Filthy Conditions, Neglect

State of Ohio v. Mary Wawyrtko, Joseph Scott Gray, and Jessica Oslander, cases prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Wawyrtko, Gray, and Oslander were the primary operators of The Cat Crossing rescue and sanctuary. They were charged with multiple counts related to 147 neglected cats kept in filthy conditions at the sanctuary.

Wawrytko has operated cat rescues for a number of years. In 2011, Wawrytko’s Columbus Avenue sanctuary was shut down and Tails From The City – Cleveland took in 106 cats from that facility. In 2012, Wawrytko opened a new sanctuary on W25th Street called “The Cat Crossing”, which became the subject of multiple complaints. Over the years, the Cleveland APL issued advice and warnings based on lack of appropriate quarantine procedures, adequate veterinary records, and waste odor permeating the building due to lack of cleanliness and soiled carpet.

In January 2015, a new complaint led to yet another investigation. This time, the conditions had deteriorated to the point that 147 of the cats were taken from the facility. All of the cats in the facility were either free-roaming or contained in wire crates that allowed contact with other cats. No quarantine room was established and cats infected with FeLV, FIV, ringworm, upper respiratory infections (URI), Giardia, ear mites, fleas, and other contagious diseases/parasites were allowed to freely mingle with other cats. Multiple free-roaming cats were seen sneezing blood and mucus, and the walls themselves showed visible evidence of mucus splatter. The vast majority of the cats were not being treated for these conditions, either by a veterinarian or the Defendants.

The odor of animal waste throughout the facility was overwhelming. Most of the litterboxes overflowed with waste and cats were forced to eliminate around those boxes. Space heaters were positioned throughout the cold building on flammable, unsteady objects, such as mattresses, where one witness described seeing cats congregating around the heaters and urinating in proximity.

Overcrowding, poor air quality, constant exposure to disease, and competition for resources caused these cats to suffer not only physically, but psychology from stress, leading to the deterioration of their immune systems and ultimately making them more susceptible to disease.

Wawrytko, Gray, and Oslander each pled guilty to six counts, five related to filthy conditions and one related to neglect, covering the treatment of all 147 cats. Sentencing is scheduled for November 16, 2015 at 11:00am.

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Dog Owner Found Guilty of Companion Animal Cruelty

State v. Diane Campbell, a case we prosecuted, investigated by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Ashland County Humane Society.

Campbell was found guilty yesterday of one count of companion animal cruelty for neglecting her dog, Thor, who suffered from severe skin infections, hair loss over a large portion of his body, flea infestation, severe itching, a severe ear infection and an embedded collar. The veterinarian, Dr. Donald Kaeser, reported that Thor has “been suffering in this condition in my medical opinion for a very long time. A dog doesn’t get in this condition overnight and has been suffering from neglect. A reasonable owner would notice this dog was miserable and needed taken to a vet within a week or less.”

Campbell was ordered to surrender all of her animals, and to have no animals for three years. Campbell will be subject to random inspections. She faces 30 days in jail if she fails to comply. She was also ordered to pay $150 fine and court costs.

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Multiple-Count Conviction for Shih Tzu neglect

State v. Jon Carmen Ferrante, a case prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Ferrante was charged with animal neglect related to his care of 33 Shih Tzu dogs. Many of the dogs were so severely matted that it became difficult for the dogs to walk or move without pain. The dogs were confined in unsanitary conditions and also suffered from untreated veterinary conditions such as worms, dental disease, and eye issues.

One dog, Xander, suffered a mat that acted as a tourniquet around his foot, resulting in death of the limb and a severe infection. Despite receiving emergency medical attention at the Cleveland APL, he ultimately did not survive his condition. All 32 other dogs were successfully rehabilitated by the APL and adopted into new homes.

Ferrante pled no contest to 12 counts of neglect, all first degree misdemeanors pursuant to Nitro’s Law.

Ferrante is prohibited from owning, keeping, or possessing any companion animals for an indefinite period of time and was further sentenced to 5 years probation, during which time he is not permitted to possess any animals and is subject to random inspections by the APL. He must obtain a mental health assessment, and abide by any treatment recommendations. He was fined $600 plus court costs. Failure to abide by these terms may result in 180 days in jail.

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Maximum Sentence for Cruelty to 14 Horses

State v. Diane and Thomas Silbaugh, cases we prosecuted on behalf of the Humane Society of Greater Akron in the Stow Municipal Court.

14 horses were removed from the Defendants’ property in Cuyahoga Falls in subzero temperatures this past February. Water buckets were frozen solid, and some horses were caked with frozen urine and fecal material. Horses suffered from dehydration, lack of adequate food, missing fur, untreated wounds and other treatable ailments due to neglect. Three were humanely euthanized due to their condition.

The Defendants were each found guilty of one count of animal cruelty. Judge Kim Hoover gave the defendants a blistering lecture on the seriousness of these crimes, and then sentenced both to the maximum jail time (90 days) and the maximum fine ($750.) Diane was taken immediately into custody. Thomas was permitted to serve his sentence at a facility where he is receiving rehabilitation for a medical condition, but will wear an ankle bracelet which does not allow him to move beyond a very narrow perimeter.

Defendants surrendered all 14 horses six months after the seizure. As a result, they have been ordered to pay more than $12,000 to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary for board and care.

After their jail term, they will serve 12 months probation during which time they may not own, possess or live with animals except for the 5 dogs and 3 birds they currently possess. All animals must be kept in a humane, sanitary and lawful manner. They are subject to random inspections.

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Conviction for Animal Neglect after Choking Puppy

State v. James Wayne, a case we prosecuted on behalf of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Wayne was charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor of knowingly committing an act of companion animal cruelty for choking a puppy to death on February 10, 2015. Wayne has a record of at least 16 prior felonies.

The case was set for trial twice. Unfortunately, the only eye-witness failed to appear in court, and her current address is unknown. The Defendant instead pled guilty to animal neglect for failing to provide necessary veterinary care for an animal, which is also a 1st degree misdemeanor under Cleveland City Ordinances.

Wayne is now prohibited from owning or possessing companion animals indefinitely. He must complete an anger management course, submit to monitoring by the APL for 5 years, and pay a $250 fine plus court costs. Failure to abide by these terms may result in 180 days in jail.

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100 days jail time for animal neglect

Update on State v. Vicki Cornell, a case we prosecuted along with Prosecutor Rhonda Fisher in the Bryan Municipal Court last year.

Cornell, who operated an organization ironically known as “Skinny Little Buddies Animal Rescue,” was convicted of 24 counts of companion animal cruelty relating to the keeping of approximately 48 dogs.

Today she was found guilty of violating her probation. Judge Francis Gorman imposed 100 days in jail, with credit for 7 days served to date. After serving this jail term, she will be back on probation, with a prohibition against keeping more than 4 personal pets, and random inspections. 500 days in jail remain hanging over her head if there are additional violations.

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WCPN 90.3 Hosts Discussion on Goddard’s Law

Today Mike McIntyre of WCPN 90.3’s program The Sound of Ideas hosted a discussion on Goddard’s Law, Ohio H.B. 274. Attorney J. Jeffrey Holland, who drafted the initial Bill, was a featured guest.

Courtesy of WCPN 90.3, this program can be heard using the player below.

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