Friday, April 28, 2017

Florida: Found guilty of felony animal cruelty, Judge John Brown gives Ross Cheney just 14 days in the county jail -- and tells him he can just come in on the weekends so it doesn't interfere with his personal life

FLORIDA -- A Niceville man who was found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty will serve just 14 days in jail, almost a year less than requested by prosecutors.

Ross Garrett Cheney, 29, of Everglade Drive, was arrested Aug. 8, 2016.

According to Bill Bishop, the chief assistant state attorney in Okaloosa County, Cheney’s parents’ Golden Retriever reportedly got away from his house, and he and other family members went to look for him.

When Cheney found the dog some distance from his home, he reportedly placed a leash around the dog’s neck and had him run alongside his car on the way back.

At some point, the animal clearly couldn’t keep up. Cheney was obviously angry at the dog for running off so he kept driving even when the dog collapsed and was being dragged. Finally, someone saw what he was doing and forced him to stop. 

According to Mary Rudder, the animal control supervisor at the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, the dog suffered numerous injuries.

“Our officer took it to one of the vets in Niceville,” Rudder said. “When the dog’s owners came, he was released back to them.”

PAWS filed a report with the State Attorney’s Office, which charged Cheney with aggravated animal cruelty.

The defendant was found guilty when the case went to trial Feb. 9.

“Our office recommended that Cheney be sentenced to 11 months and 29 days, with four years of probation,” Bishop said. “But (Circuit) Judge (John) Brown sentenced him to 14 days in the Okaloosa County Jail, with two years’ probation and 100 days of community service.”

Brown also deviated from the sentencing recommendation by withholding adjudication in the case. That means Cheney will not have a felony conviction on his record.

Also, if the 14 day sentence wasn't outrageous enough, Judge John Brown also allowed Cheney to serve his sentence on weekends rather than spend 14 consecutive days in jail. After all, we wouldn't want to inconvenience animal abusers, now would we Judge Brown?

This isn’t the first time Cheney has been allowed to serve a “weekender sentence.”

On Aug. 8, 2008, he was arrested for driving with a revoked or suspended license, and served five consecutive weekends beginning Jan. 16, 2009.

Cheney was subsequently charged as an habitual offender after being arrested on the same charge May 22, 2009.

He was arrested again June 11, 2009, for a probation violation.

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​Full Name: Ross Garrett Cheney
Gender: Male
Height: 5'09"
Weight: 159 lbs
Hair Color: BROWN
Eye Color: HAZEL
Birthdate: 12/31/1969
Arrest Age:29
Agency: Okaloosa County, Florida
STATUTE: 828.12-2

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Florida: Letter to the Editor - 14 days is not enough for dog dragger

Re: Story, April 12, “Man who dragged dog to serve 14 days”

In regards to Ross Cheney, he should be branded as an animal abuser and never allowed to have another animal. 

The judge himself — Judge John Brown — was negligent in his decision also; just a slap on the wrist.

Sounds like someone is getting preferential treatment — 14 days is not long enough for this guy who knowingly dragged a dog!

Sharon Junco, Valparaiso

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