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cat neglect

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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Conviction for Companion Animal Neglect in Ashland County

State v. April McCartney, a case we prosecuted for the Ashland County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the Ashland County Humane Society.

McCartney was convicted of one count of companion animal neglect regarding 4 cats, 8 dogs and a bearded dragon lizard. Most of the dogs were tied outside in a yard heaped with garbage without access to food, water or adequate shelter. Other animals were kept in the house, which was also filled with garbage, including animal waste. There was a strong odor of urine and fecal ammonia throughout the house. The majority of the animals were very thin. Many were suffering from conjunctivitis, eye conditions, parasites and other ailments which the veterinarian said showed lack of proper care for a very prolonged period of time.

McCartney voluntarily surrendered all of the animals.

McCartney is not permitted to own, possess or live in a place with animals of any kind for 3 years, and is subject to random inspections. If she violates those terms, she faces 30 days in jail. She was only fined $100 plus court costs because she has no assets.

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Sentencing for Cat Crossing Operators

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

Defendants were sentenced yesterday.

They will have to complete 5 years of active probation. During probation, the Defendants are prohibited from owning more than 2 spayed or neutered animals. They may continue to volunteer as cat caretakers at The Cat Crossing if they act under the oversight of a veterinarian and shelter management plan, both approved by the APL. All animals must be kept in a humane, sanitary and lawful manner. The Defendants will be subject to random, unannounced inspections of any facility where they care for cats by the Cleveland APL, Cleveland Animal Control, Public Health and Building Code officials, and other law enforcement to ensure compliance.

Defendants must obtain mental health assessments and abide by recommended treatment, if any.

Defendants must also pay $5,800.00 in restitution to the Cleveland APL and court costs. If the Defendants fail to comply with the terms of probation, they face up to 990 days in jail each.

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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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Probation for Cat Neglect

State of Ohio v. Anthony Gobis, a case prosecuted for Lake Humane Society.

Gobis was charged with animal neglect related to the care of his cat, Mufasa. Mufasa suffered from a serious facial injury that went untreated, allowing maggots, mites, and infection to set in.

Gobis pled no contest to one count of animal neglect.

He is prohibited from owning any companion animals for an indefinite period of time and was further sentenced to 4 years of probation, during which time he cannot own or keep any animal. The Humane Society is permitted to conduct random inspections to ensure compliance. Gobis must complete 80 hours of community service. If he fails to comply with these conditions, he faces 90 days in jail.

Mufasa in Recovery

Mufasa in Recovery

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Rootstown, Ohio woman found guilty of 11 counts of animal neglect

State v. Danette Kerr, a case we prosecuted for the Portage County APL was resolved today.

112 animals were seized from Kerr’s property on July 22, 2014. 18 dogs and 3 cats exhibited signs of neglect including dehydration, emaciation, matted fur, severe dental disease and a variety of untreated conditions that caused suffering.

82 birds were kept in conditions of extreme filth, including accumulation of urine and fecal ammonia which caused rescuer’s eyes to water and throat to burn. Conditions for the animals included emaciation, urine scalded feet and overgrown beaks. 29 dead birds were also found in a freezer on the property.

Horses showed various signs of neglect, including malnourishment, muscle wasting, dehydration, and excessive exposure to filth and flies.

Danette Kerr was found guilty of 6 first degree misdemeanors and 5 second degree misdemeanor charges of animal neglect. Kerr paid $14,100 for costs incurred in caring for the animals. She is on probation for 5 years. During that time, she is subject to random inspections to make sure that she is caring properly for her three current pets. She must also have a mental health assessment and follow up with recommended treatment. 

Our goal in these cases is first to save the animals, and second to prevent future incidents. In cases like this, mental health treatment along with inspections over 5 years (the maximum term of probation) has proven to be more effective for preventing future violations than an immediate jail term. If Kerr does violate any of the terms of probation, she is facing 180 days in jail.

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Animal cruelty conviction for cats living in waste in Mentor, Ohio.

State v. Nancy and Christopher Farley; cases we prosecuted for the Lake Humane Society.

A car was towed to a repair shop, filled with clothing and other personal items. The smell was so strong inside the vehicle that the mechanic thought it contained a dead body. He called the police who then summoned Humane Agents from the Lake Humane Society.

Two cat carriers were found under the clothing and debris, with two cats inside. The carriers were filled with urine and fecal matter, so that the animals were soaked through with liquid waste. Among other things, the cats suffered from urine scalds. As is often the case, we are not posting the worst photographs.

Defendants were found guilty in the Mentor Municipal Court of companion animal cruelty, and are prohibited from possessing companion animals indefinitely.

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