Man pleads no contest to charges in Butler County dog’s death

A Reily Twp. man has ended a nearly year-long case by changing his pleas to misdemeanor animal cruelty.

David Neanover, 36, of the 5100 block of Main Street, pleaded no contest to two counts of cruelty to companion animals today in Butler County Area I Court, according to his attorney Charles M. Rittgers and the court. Judge Robert Lyons then found him guilty of the first degree misdemeanor charges

MORE: Defense, prosecution weigh in on animal cruelty case

Lyons ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for May 7. He faces a maximum of 180 days in jail on the charges

The change of plea came two days before Neanover’s scheduled trail on Monday.

The defense previously filed a motion the suppress evidence in the case, by Lyons overruled that motion in December.

On April 22, 2019, a deputy dog warden was dispatched to the Neanover residence for a welfare check but was unable to make contact with anyone at the residence. The deputy dog warden observed the thin dog with sores on his body.

The defense argued Neanover’s privacy rights were violated when the deputy dog warden entered the yard to seize the dog without a warrant.

According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, deputy dog wardens found the emaciated dog at the residence. The dog, named Lou by caregivers, was cared for and hospitalized for five days at Animal Care Centers and died several days later.

The medical staff was surprised when X-rays showed rocks in the dog’s stomach. He lived his life on a very short chain and was “deprived food for quite some time,” according to the Animal Friends Humane Society.

The case was presented to a grand jury that declined to return an indictment of felony charges.

MORE: 2 Butler County animal cruelty cases, 2 declined felony indictments by grand juries

Rittgers said in June, a medical condition, not lack of food or water, killed the dog, which is likely the reason the grand jury did not return a felony indictment.

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