Jessica North, 34, and her fiancé, Christopher Sears (Chris Sears), 31, both of Hamilton, were indicted in November by a Butler County grand jury on a fifth-degree felony of cruelty to a companion animal after a dog in their care was found starving and later died.
It was the first felony animal cruelty case in the county under the new stiffer law that went into effect in June.
How nice. The first felony case under the new law and they don't even prosecute it as felonies. Good job, Butler County - not!
The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-first degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days behind bars. Now classified as a felony, the charge carries a sentence of up to 12 months in prison.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the misdemeanor pleas were permitted in these cases because they met the law specification of a misdemeanor.
“For this charge to rise to the level of a felony, there has to be a prior charge of abuse. There was some indication that was the case early on, but the evidence indicated there was not, so the charge is really a misdemeanor,” Gmoser said.
DAVID WASHINGTON IS AN ODIOUS CRETIN
Sears’ attorney David Washington argued that "this was not a case where the dog was beaten or tortured".
“They fed the dog and it threw up all over. They did not have the money to take it to the vet,” Washington said. “(Sears) loved the dog.”
It's called "Take it to the shelter, David." Hmm, what's skinnier than this? Death, David. That's what a reasonable person would infer would be the eventual outcome of Duke getting skinnier and skinnier. A reasonable person would be able to figure out the outcome if they continued to do NOTHING, which is what they did. Just shut up and collect your paycheck.
An employee of Minnick’s Drive Thru called police after a dog came to the Hamilton drive-thru looking starved. She fed the brown pit bull mix Slim Jims and dog biscuits and gave it some water.
A post on the Butler County Dog Warden’s Facebook page yielded several tips and led Deputy Dog Warden Supervisor Kurt Merbs to North and Sears
According to Merbs, the couple said that each time they fed the dog it “would go throw up and just lay around.”
But they never sought medical treatment for the dog, according to Merbs.
The dog, later named Duke by those who tried to save him, did not survive. After weeks of treatment, he was euthanized, according to the dog warden’s office.
(Hamilton Journal News - Jan 17, 2017)