Some residents and animal rights advocates are upset that a man accused in the death of his dog was not indicted on a felony charge.
That’s not unprecedented in Butler County. A change in Ohio’s law that can allow animal cruelty charges to be felonies has resulted in felony convictions in Butler County in the past two years. But no one has been sentenced to that maximum of 12 months in prison, which has frustrated animal advocates.
Here’s a look at cases that resulted in felony convictions in Butler County.
Edmund Cunningham, 24, of Roosevelt Boulevard, was indicted for 14 counts of felony animal cruelty in October after multiple dead cats were found in his home’s freezer.
Cunningham pleaded guilty to 10 counts for killing the animals in Butler County Common Pleas Court
Judge Charles Pater sentenced Cunningham to three years community control and ordered him to obtain full time employment and not to have any contact with companion animals. Cunningham had been incarcerated in the county jail for months awaiting trial.
A Middletown humane officer visited Cunningham’s home Aug. 30 for a complaint that he had been harming cats and kittens. During a conversation with the officer, Cunningham gave consent to search his residence, and police found cats in a freezer in the home.
Cunningham admitted he killed eight of the cats.
“He killed them in different ways,” said Sgt. Scott Reeve previously told this news organization. “He took in a stray. He was cleaning it up and it attacked him, so he said he punched and stabbed it in self defense.”
Kevin L. Sullivan
Kevin L. Sullivan pleaded guilty to setting a cat on fire in the summer of 2017 outside a Howard Avenue residence. He was sentenced to three years community control by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater and was brought back to Butler County for the case after serving a jail sentence in a neighboring county for forgery.
Andrew Chilton of Middletown was found guilty of felony animal cruelty for hanging and beating a kitten to death. The conviction came after a one-day bench trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Greg Howard sentenced Chilton to five years probation and ordered him to served 100 hours of community service in an animal shelter and undergo a mental health assessment. Chilton was in county jail for more than 30 days awaiting sentencing.
Tina Jackson of Middletown pleaded guilty to three counts of felony animal cruelty after several dogs, including one that was decapitated, were found dead in frigid conditions in the backyard of her home. She was sentenced by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens to 60 days in the Butler County Jail.
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