Youngstown man facing animal cruelty charges after dog found chained to doghouse

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Cases like this are victories for Animal Charity but they also create further financial hardship for the agency

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A man from Youngstown’s south side will have to appear in court later this month after being indicted on animal cruelty charges.

James Antwon Jones is accused of causing the death of a dog found chained to a doghouse at a home on Sherwood Avenue a month ago.

It all started with a phone call to Animal Charity.

“Our humane agent received a complaint from a concerned citizen,” Mary Louk said.

The agent found the 2-year-old pit bull mix, saying it had been dead for several days.

An exam showed the animal had been starved, with little more than leaves and sawdust in its stomach.

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On Thursday, the owner, Jones, was indicted on a felony charge of cruelty to a companion animal.

Jones was indicted under Goddard’s Law, named after a popular Cleveland-area meteorologist and animal activist, which makes cruelty to companion animals a felony.

“We were very happy,” Louk said. “The grand jury agreed that there was merit to seek hearing this case.”

She said cases like this are costly to pursue, especially for Animal Charity. The organization faces decreasing revenues ever since its veterinarians left and its in-house clinic had to close.

“Ideally, we would love to have two agents to cover Mahoning County but we can barely — we can’t afford the one that we have, let alone adding one on top,” Louk said.

Animal Charity spent $30,000 last year on off-site veterinary care and Louk said she’s still waiting for the bill from last month’s necropsy on the dog in this case, whittling that much more from the agency’s budget.

Louk said Animal Charity may be forced to close by year’s end unless it finds significant financial help, leaving the county without a humane agent.

“Animal charges are very specific. It’s very different than having a charge for a human crime and this is what we’re not going to have available for us in Mahoning County if Animal Charity isn’t here.”

In the meantime, Jones is due in court on his charge later this month.

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