Sunday, August 13, 2000

Man had previous cruelty charge

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEMON TOWNSHIP — A Butler County man accused of abandoning 20 dogs that were eventually destroyed had previously been convicted of animal cruelty but had his jail sentence suspended.

        Robert Rogers, 40, was arrested Friday in this community about 30 miles north of Cincinnati after animal control officials found 18 of the dogs — including eight puppies — locked up in a house Mr. Rogers had been renting.

        Butler County Dog Warden Marie Marksbury Saturday said Mr. Rogers had apparently left the dogs behind when he moved out of the house four weeks ago.

        “This was not the worst,” Ms. Marksbury said, referring to the 1991 discovery of at least 40 dogs at an abandoned mansion on Jacksonburg Road, just north of Jacksonburg Township in Butler County.

        “But it was definitely bad, especially since he had been charged before.”

        Mr. Rogers had been convicted in April 1998, after he was seen taking one of his dogs that had been run over by a car and leaving it in a doghouse without medical treatment, Ms. Marksbury said.

        His sentence was a fine of $500 and six months in jail. Half the fine and the jail time were suspended if he never appeared in Middletown Municipal Court again on animal cruelty charges — considered a misdemeanor in Ohio. Ms. Marksbury said he got rid of all but two of the dogs at the time, but let the number grow again over the past year.

        Mr. Rogers was still in custody Saturday on 53 charges — including 20 of cruelty to animals, 18 counts of animal abandonment and two minor drug charges. Bond has been set at $14,020.

        Ms. Marksbury said the maximum sentence on the cruelty and animal-abandonment charges alone would be a $13,000 fine and nine years in prison. She said officials were investigating if others were involved.

        The dogs were all rescued alive, but were so malnourished — they were eating their own feces and the puppies had been gnawed — they had to be destroyed.

        “It was a mess, to say the least,” said Monroe Police Officer Tom Cobaugh, who assisted with the removal. “That place was not meant for a dog, much less 20. I had to put a cloth mask over my face with Vicks Vapo-Rub to mask the smell.”


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