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Cleveland APL

Animal cruelty conviction for drowning opossum

State v. Terry Shkurka, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Shkurka admitted trapping an opossum and then holding the cage down in a rubber tub full of water to drown it. He said he has disposed of nuisance animals in this fashion before, and that sometimes he had to put them back in the water to finish the job. Dr. Allison Lash reported that drowning an animal in this fashion could take 5 to 10 minutes, and involves significant suffering.

The Defendant was found guilty of animal cruelty. Shkurka, who had no other criminal record, was required to forfeit the trap, pay a fine of $250 and costs, complete a a humane education course, and remain on active probation for a year. If he fails to complete any condition, he faces 90 days in jail.

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Cleveland woman sentenced for neglect of two dogs

State v. Glenda Murray, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Glenda Murray was charged related to her neglect of two emaciated, ill dogs tethered without shelter in cold weather. Glenda Murray’s husband, Fuller Murray, who was also charged, is currently serving jail time on felony firearms and assault charges and his animal cruelty case is still awaiting adjudication.

Glenda Murray was found guilty of four counts and was sentenced to the maximum jail term (1 ½ years), all suspended. The suspended time may be imposed if she fails to complete 5 years’ probation. During probation, she is prohibited from owning or keeping any animal. She must also submit to random inspections. Murray must complete 100 hours of community service and pay $230 in restitution to the APL.

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Cleveland couple sentenced to jail for keeping dogs in filth

State v. Melody and Edward McDonald; cases we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League. Both will serve jail time.

The Defendants, husband and wife, were each found guilty of keeping three dogs in filthy conditions. The floors of the residence were caked with animal fecal matter and debris. The house smelled extremely foul. After receiving notice that a complaint had been filed with the APL, Mr. McDonald abandoned several dogs on Independence Road that were never recovered. He claimed that he left the dogs in a “safe place” because the Animal Warden would find them.

The Defendants were sentenced today by Judge Adrine. The McDonalds were given 180 days in jail, with 170 days suspended. They will both serve 10 days, and the remaining suspended time may be imposed if they fail to complete 5 years’ probation. During probation, they are prohibited from owning or keeping any animal. They must also submit to random inspections.

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Cleveland cockfighter Carlos Diaz to serve six months in jail

State v. Carlos Diaz, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Diaz kept 15 roosters and hens in a filthy, sewage-filled basement. A number of the birds had untreated injuries, were underweight, or were otherwise ill. Food for the birds was scattered amongst the sewage, and no clean water was available.

Diaz admitted that he was training the roosters to fight. He further admitted that he sold and shipped the birds to Puerto Rico where they would be fought.

When the APL’s humane agents responded to Diaz’s residence, they found a fighting pen, where feathers were on the floor of the pen and blood was splattered on the walls. In addition, they found other items consistent with cockfighting: a timer, 3 pairs of rubber sparring pads, medications, performance-enhancing vitamins, salves, and syringes. Five pairs of spurs, razor-sharp knife-like devices strapped to roosters’ legs for causing damage to their opponent, were found wrapped in bloody adhesive tape (pictured here).

Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive, and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public, and is known to facilitate other crimes, such as illegal gambling, drug abuse and sales, and firearms offenses.

In 2008, Diaz was found guilty of illegal fights between animals under ORC 959.15, a fourth degree misdemeanor. His punishment was a $250.00 fine and court costs.

Diaz plead to and was found guilty of 11 counts related to cockfighting, animal cruelty/neglect, and possessing criminal tools.

Under a separate case number, Diaz plead no contest to an additional violation of the city’s urban farming law in relation to this case.

Judge Adrine sentenced Diaz to serve 6 months in jail, with an additional 1200 days suspended. Diaz must pay costs and complete 5 years of active probation, during which time he cannot possess any animals and must allow random inspections by the APL.

The birds were all rehabilitated.

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Dog beater convicted of animal cruelty in Cleveland

State v. William Congress, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland APL in the Cleveland Municipal Court.

On Christmas Day, 2013, Congress sent a disturbing Facebook instant message to his roommate, who was out of town visiting family over the holidays. He admitted to beating the roommate’s dog, Caesar, because the dog damaged the floor of the apartment. The dog sustained bruises, cuts and a broken leg, requiring surgery.

Unfortunately, the roommate, a key witness in the case, fled to California without a forwarding address, and could not be summoned for trial. 

Congress entered a plea of no contest and was found guilty of one count of companion animal cruelty, a first degree misdemeanor. If he commits another such offense, it will be a felony. Congress is prohibited from possessing or owning any animals for 5 years, must complete a course in anger management and 200 hours of community service, and must pay $1500 restitution for veterinary costs. Congress may serve 6 months in jail if he violates these terms.

Caesar recovered fully and has been placed in a permanent home.

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Willie Powell, Jr. to serve 6 months in Cleveland jail for dog neglect

State v. Willie Powell, Jr., a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Judge Ronald Adrine sentenced Powell to serve 6 months in jail for the neglect of his four dogs, the maximum penalty for a first degree misdemeanor. Powell was previously convicted of attempted dog fighting in 2002.

In this case, Powell’s four dogs were kept individually in small crates. The crate floors were covered in urine and feces, forcing the dogs to stand in their own excrement. The dogs were also underweight, and many had severely overgrown nails. One dog had an injury to its tail that caused blood to splatter on the walls.

Defendant was found guilty of two counts of companion animal cruelty, and two counts of keeping animals in filthy conditions.

Defendant was sentenced to one and half years in jail, all suspended except for six months. Powell was placed on 5 years of active probation, during which time he cannot own, keep, possess, or reside with any animals, and will be subject to random inspections. Powell must also pay $200 in restitution to the APL.

Powell was taken to jail immediately after sentencing.

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Owner of suspected cockfighting location convicted of bird neglect

State v. Jose DeJesus, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

DeJesus was found guilty of three counts of animal neglect related to the care of birds kept on his property.

DeJesus had 80-100 birds on his property, mostly chickens. Most of the birds were being kept in filthy conditions, and without adequate food or water. The birds had nothing to eat except corn and moldy, stale bread. One rooster was euthanized due to severe untreated injuries.

In a shed located at the rear of the property, investigators found cockfighting paraphernalia, including a ring with timer and sparring muffs.

According to DeJesus, a number of unknown people kept birds on his property and cared for them. DeJesus claimed that he never went in the shed.

DeJesus was sentenced to 90 days in jail for each count, all suspended. He was ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the APL, a $500 fine, and court costs. DeJesus will be on probation for 5 years, during which time he is to have no animals, and must submit to random inspections.

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State v. Joshua Maldonado, Cleveland Animal Abuser Convicted

State v. Joshua Maldonado, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

Maldonado was found guilty of one count of animal cruelty, a first degree misdemeanor, for the injury to his dog “Diamond.”

In this case, witnesses reported either seeing or hearing the Defendant beat Diamond. When the APL responded to the complaints, Diamond was found with injuries consistent with trauma. Diamond was limping with an injury to her hip that caused her left hind leg to be too painful to use. Diamond was dragging that leg behind her, causing her toe nails and paw pads to wear down and become infected. Two nails were ripped out, two were partially missing, and part of her paw pad was also missing.

Defendant was sentenced to 180 days in jail, a $500 fine and court costs, all suspended. He was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the APL. Defendant was placed on a 5 year term of active probation. During that time, he may not keep or possess any animals, and is subject to random inspections. Defendant must also complete community service hours.

Diamond underwent two surgeries to correct her injuries and has since been adopted.

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Cleveland man convicted of neglecting dogs

State v. Joseph Salett, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland APL. Salett was found guilty of companion animal cruelty for failing to provide adequate food or water to two dogs, who were both Body Condition Score 2.

Salett was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which may be imposed if he fails to complete 3 years probation. During that time, Salett is prohibited from keeping, owning or possessing in his home any animals, and is subject to random inspections. He must complete a humane education course, and must pay $500 in restitution.Skinny dog

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Puppy nursed to health by cat, criminal case resolved.

State v. Jose Cintron, a case we prosecuted for the Cleveland Animal Protective League. This case received some earlier news coverage because the mother was in poor condition, and the puppy was nursed back to health by a cat. Both animals made a full recovery.

The Defendant was found guilty today of animal neglect in the Cleveland Municipal Court. He is prohibited from possessing animals for three years, and is subject to random inspections. He is required to pay $450 in restitution. A violation of these terms may result in a 90 day jail term.

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