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Animal abuse gets Pedro man jail time

Ironton Municipal Court Judge Clark Collins sentenced a Pedro man Thursday to 90 days in the county jail for cruelty to animals – the maximum sentence for such a charge.

Friday, October 29, 1999

Ironton Municipal Court Judge Clark Collins sentenced a Pedro man Thursday to 90 days in the county jail for cruelty to animals – the maximum sentence for such a charge.

Homer Friend, 36, of Pedro, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, which stemmed from an anonymous tip and an Aug. 29 Lawrence County Humane Society investigation, assistant county prosecutor Bob Anderson said.

"We’re pleased," Anderson said. "I doubt there have been many around the state that have received the maximum penalty, but there have not been many that have been this severe, either."

Another cruelty case – where one puppy died of starvation and another almost died – netted a lesser sentence against a South Point man last week in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

Tim Leftridge, 32, pleaded no contest to two cruelty counts, was found guilty by Judge Donald Capper, and was sentenced Oct. 22 to 10 days in county jail suspended upon him serving 10 days of community service, and one year probation, assistant county prosecutor Mack Anderson said.

Leftridge must also pay a $100 fine, court costs and make full restitution to the veterinarian.

The prosecution built a strong case using the Humane Society’s investigation, and Leftridge’s admission that the animals were under his care, Anderson said.

"We’re disappointed," he said. "We had asked for the maximum on both counts."

Lawrence County Humane Society agent Carla Beasley, who investigated both cases, called the maximum penalty levied against Friend a wake up call for potential abusers.

"I hope it sends the message out that we’re not going to tolerate it anymore," Mrs. Beasley said.

The agent has more cases under investigation and waiting on court dates, and the society will continue its aggressive enforcement of animal cruelty laws, she said.

"We just want people to call in the abuse cases and let me know they’re out there."

Residents wanting to report animal abuse to the society may call 533-9050 daily 2-6 p.m.

In the Friend case, Mrs. Beasley filed a complaint Sept. 3 after finding that a female golden retriever, now in Humane Society custody and named "Sunshine," had been injured by a chain used like a collar that had become embedded about two inches into the dog’s throat. A veterinarian removed the chain.

Sunshine is doing well and is getting offers of new homes from all over the United States, Mrs. Beasley said.

Friend will report Nov. 15 to serve his jail term, must pay a $250 fine and must serve a one year probation during which he cannot possess any pets, Anderson said.

"Hopefully, that will not only punish him appropriately but also will be a deterrent for someone else from committing an act of cruelty because there is going to be a result and it’s going to be a harsh result," he said.