“This is truly the worst single case of animal abuse and neglect in Ashtabula County in recent years,” said prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci. “I’ve personally never seen anything like the photographic record in this case.”
The bench trial for Angela Matty and Christopher Lawrence, both of 2372 N. County Line Road, Harpersfield Township, and Brittany Merkley, of 481 Roosevelt Drive, Geneva, took place June the 5th in Western County Court.
Judge David Schroeder found Matty guilty of five second-degree misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Lawrence and Merkely were each found guilty of one count.
Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci confirmed that “the charges stem from two reported incidents of animal neglect at the North County Line Road home in September and December.”
Here’s more from Star Beacon:
In September, county sheriff’s deputies investigated complaints about a dog barking for several hours at the home — where neighbors reported no human activity for days — and found the home “open and full of garbage.” Its perimeter reeked of “rotting carcass” and windows on the upper floor were covered in wood and plastic, the release states.
“A pig was roaming freely on the ground floor inside the residence, and a female adult dog, which was terribly emaciated, was in the upstairs bathroom with four 5-week-old puppies in the bathtub,” the release states. “Adult kibbles were in the bathtub, which the puppies were unable to eat. The deputy found the dog, puppies and the kibbles covered in feces and urine.”
Deputies noted the dogs had no available water in the bathtub. County dog warden Donna Yan arrived and found the mother dog to be so malnourished she had no milk to feed the puppies and all the canines were bloated from worm infestations, the release states.
The Ashtabula County Humane Society was also called to check on horses, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks housed in a barn on the property that were all “observed to be thin.”
Yan returned to the residence in December after neighbors reported several cows at large on a nearby roadway. Once the animals were returned to the barn, Yan noted the lack of food and shelter from the elements for the other livestock, and found horses and pigs emaciated or in “terrible” condition, with one near death, and dead ducks that were “mashed into the mud.”
“There were some emaciated ducks, chickens and goats that were found alive which could not raise their heads,” the release states.
During five hours of testimony, the court saw almost 90 photos and one video from the evidence record.
Sentencing for all three defendants is set for July 31 in Western County Court.
How much time behind bars would you give them?