A Travesty of Justice! Abused Dog Returned to Convicted Abuser!
In March this beautiful white Shepherd husky mix dog was found wandering the streets of Somerville, OH with a chain embedded in her neck. The chain had to be surgically removed from her neck.
“(The wound) was so infected, it cleared the office out,” said Jim Wolfe, a volunteer at the animal shelter. “(The smell) was terrible.” The owner, Otis Clark, Jr. 48 of Somerville was charged with animal cruelty, no license and a dog running at large. Initially pleading not guilty, Clark changed his plea to no contest.
The saddest aspect of this case was that Clark refused to surrender the dog, named China. For months she languished in the shelter, unable to be placed in a loving forever home where she wouldn’t be subject to constant chaining and neglect. He said he and his children loved her and wanted her back. Some way of showing it!
But Beverly Cochran of Colerain Township, a volunteer for the Trenton shelter, said leaving a dog chained up so long and so tightly doesn’t show love or concern. Cochran said photos of the dog’s injuries sickened her.
She was among about a half-dozen people who came to court Thursday afternoon to show support for China.
“The sad thing is that there are people lined up wanting to love this dog back to health,” Cochran said.
The dog cannot be offered for adoption unless Judge Rob Lyons orders the dog’s ownership transferred to the Humane Society or unless Clark signs away his rights to the dog. (The Enquirer)
And now the travesty of justice, unbelievably, China, neglect and abused, is being returned to the very person who abused her… who was convicted of abusing her!! What the hell is going on in the mind of that judge?? That man belongs in jail and the poor sweet innocent abused dog belongs in a home where she will be loved and cared for! She does not belong right back where she came from to face the same treatment once again! To face to same outdoor confinement at the end of a chain, a life of neglect and abuse!
People are incensed today a judge returned a Butler County dog to the animal’s owner who pleaded guilty to abusing the animal.
“If a child had been in that same situation, would this judge have returned the child to that environment, without even letting the child protective services people have their say?” said Beverly Cochran, 39, of Colerain Township.
Cochran and other Greater Cincinnati animal lovers on Sunday said Butler County Area I Court Judge Rob Lyons disregarded cries for justice for the dog. They also say he defied common sense by returning China to the home of Otis Clark Jr., 48, in the Butler County village of Somerville.
The dog had been left tied outside so long that a chain embedded in her neck more than an inch deep. It had to be surgically removed, leaving the dog with permanent scars.
“It looked like someone pressed a chain into ground beef, it was that disgusting,” Cochran said. “I never met this dog, but I saw pictures of her injuries, and that was enough for me to care about what happened to her. I’m in disbelief over the judge’s decision. It’s such an injustice. Poor China. She never got her day in court.”
Clark’s lawyer, Dan Hurr, has said his client loved the dog and therefore didn’t want to give her up.
Clark surprised China’s supporters, including Cochran, when he pleaded no contest to an animal cruelty charge July 12 after China had remained in the custody of the Butler County animal shelter for 3½ months.
The plea came one hour before Clark’s scheduled trial, leaving China’s supporters feeling shortchanged. Many had taken time off from work to attend the hearing, only to find out the case was a ‘done deal’ by the time they arrived.
“The judge pulled a fast one on us then and now he has done it again,” Cochran said Sunday.
Leland Gordon, executive director of the Animal Friends Humane Society, said China’s caretakers felt ambushed when Clark showed up with Lyons’ order in hand Saturday, five days before anyone expected action in the case. Clark had been set for sentencing Thursday.
Gordon’s agency had cared for the animal since she was found roaming loose with the embedded chain March 30.
Some shelter workers were in tears Saturday, distraught over Lyons’ order to return the dog to Clark, and worried about the dog’s well-being, Gordon said.
“So many people were involved in the care of this dog. It would have been nice if the judge or anyone had given us a heads-up that this was happening, just to show a little respect for the work that we do on behalf of animals like her, but that didn’t happen,” he said.
Lyons ordered Clark to reimburse Gordon’s agency for China’s care, and also ordered Clark to take China for veterinary checkups every 90 days. In addition, Lyons ordered Clark ‘to read the book on dog care given to him by the court.’ The order does not say what book was provided or how it was selected.
This sends a really bad message, like, it’s OK if you abuse or neglect a dog, just read up on how not to do it again,” Gordon said. “What if we did that with children?”
Gordon also takes issue with the fact that Lyons ordered the county probation department to keep tabs on Clark’s care of China, leaving animal control officials out of the loop.
“Are the probation officers trained to look for signs of animal abuse and neglect? I don’t think so,” he said. “This is really a slap in the face to the animal control officer who signed the charge against Otis Clark in the first place. The judge did this without ever even talking to her.”
Gordon says he can’t help but feel sorry for the dog.
“If only she could talk, I’m sure she would have told the judge how much pain she had been in and she sure wouldn’t have wanted to go back to the place where she was hurt so badly,” he said. “This is not justice, and if this is accepted in our society, then that’s completely sad.”(The Enquirer)
This is just wrong!!
Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said Monday afternoon that he would refer the case to the appellate division in hopes of having the decision overturned.
Animal welfare activists planned a rally outside Butler County courthouse for Thursday, Aug. 16, from noon to 2 p.m.
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