A 19-year-old Portsmouth resident recently pled guilty to animal abandonment charges after Fayette Regional Humane Society (FRHS) humane agents found an abandoned dog tied to a fence.
Shortly after midnight June 20, the agents were dispatched by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to a residence in the 800 block of Broadway Street.
“At the time of Humane Agent (Johnny) Daugherty and I’s arrival, we found a very scared brindle mixed breed dog tied to a chain-link fence on a short leash without food, water or shelter,” said Brad Adams, Chief Humane Agent and Outreach Director. “The dog was super scared—to the point where he was growling out of fear. I’m sure it was scary with the two of us who are complete strangers approaching him in the darkness.”
It was determined through the humane agent’s investigation that the dog, named L.S., had been abandoned around noon on the previous day. Agents contacted the owner — Brittany Yoakum, formerly of Bloomingburg, — at around 1 a.m., who advised them that she was on her way to meet her boyfriend that afternoon and was moving to Portsmouth but couldn’t take the dog to their new place of residence.
Yoakum claimed that she posted the dog’s photo on social media to re-home him, and a man contacted her and was going to take the dog from Broadway Street. Yoakum tied the dog to a fence and left prior to the man arriving, according to FRHS. Yoakum was reportedly unable to provide the humane agents with any name or contact number of the person who allegedly contacted her by phone that previous afternoon.
Yoakum was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor count of abandoning animals and two counts related to cruelty to animals. She was arraigned in the Washington C.H. Municipal Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to all three charges. She was fined $100, given a 90-day jail suspension, placed on five years or probation, and ordered to not own, harbor, or have control of animals for five years.
“I know during the daylight hours it was pretty hot out, and the sun shining bright on that day. I am sure L.S. was quite thirsty during those 12 hours and didn’t enjoy being in the direct sunlight without access to water, shelter or shade for that period of time,” said Adams.
The humane agents removed L.S. and transported him to their downtown animal care and adoption center, located at 153 S. Main St. in Washington Court House, where he was given lots of treats, food, water and love.
L.S. was transferred out, through a partnership with the Fayette County Dog Shelter, to a rescue who will spend some time providing training and preparing him for a new, loving home.
The Fayette Regional Humane Society is a non-profit (501(c)(3), volunteer organization. They rely on donations, grants, and fundraising to carry out their mission. The Humane Society is the only organization in Fayette County able to respond to calls about abused, neglected, and injured domestic animals, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. To learn more about the Fayette Regional Humane Society, please visit their website at www.fayettehumanesociety.com.
Misdemeanors, according to www.spauldingandkitzler.com/criminal-defense/misdemeanors-ohio/, are divided into different levels according to severity. In Ohio, the worst is a first degree misdemeanor, followed by a second degree, third, fourth. The least severe is a minor misdemeanor.
When a misdemeanor is received, jail time can be avoided through other penalties such as community service, probation, counseling, etc.
The website explains, “a second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $750 fine. These charges typically differ from first-degree misdemeanors in that they typically involve crimes against property, such as shoplifting, theft or vandalism. A person who has already been convicted of two second-degree misdemeanors may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if involved with a similar third offense.”
Various laws in relation to animals are a part of the Ohio Revised Code and can be read about at www.codes.ohio.gov/ohio-revised-code/chapter-959. These laws include, but are not limited to, abandoning, injuring, poisoning, drugging, destruction, and cruelty of animals.