YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A woman charged with leaving her German Shepherd in an attic while she went on vacation that later died pleaded guilty Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to an animal cruelty charge.
Sentencing will be Jan. 4 for Rayne Dunmire, 22, who entered a guilty plea before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum to a fifth-degree felony charge of cruelty to companion animals. Assistant Prosecutor Michael Rich said he is recommending a sentence of probation with local jail time as determined by the judge as part of her sentence.
Dunmire, who stifled sobs through the entire plea hearing, remains free on $5,000 bond. As a condition of her bond, she is not allowed to own any animals. Dunmire was charged after a search warrant was served July 22 at her home in the 200 block of East Boston Avenue.
Members of the Mahoning County Dog Pound and Animal Charity found her German Shepherd dead in an attic and decomposing. The stench was so powerful even outside the home that humane agents and police had to cover their faces. A reptile was found in the home but two others were missing.
Rich said Dunmire told authorities she had made arrangements for an aunt to watch the dog but the aunt disputed that, Rich said.
Dunmire was on vacation at the time and made no effort to contact authorities to take care of the animals when she found out no one was taking care of them, Rich said.
Defense attorney Michael Kivlighan told the judge that Dunmire had made arrangements to care for the animals but she pleaded guilty because it was her ultimate responsibility to make sure they were taken care of.
Judge Krichbaum said he was not sure if he could make it a condition of any sentence he gives Dunmire that she be barred from owning animals because he said he does not know if the legislature ever codified that into law.
But he added he will research the matter before sentencing and if it is allowed, he will do it. “If there’s any way on God’s green earth I can do that, you can count on it,” Judge Krichbaum said.