Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking
appeal from the Licking County Municipal Court, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee MARK GARDNER Village Solicitor Village of
Defendant-Appellant MICHAEL DALSANTO
JUDGES: Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J.
Hon. William B. Hoffman, J.
Defendant-appellant Donald C. Wolfe ["Wolfe"]
appeals his conviction and sentence after a jury trial in the
Licking County Municipal Court on one count of Abandoning
and Procedural History
October 22, 2015, Wolfe was charged with one count of
Abandoning Animals in violation of R.C. 959.01 and one count
of Prohibitions Concerning Companion animals in violation of
This matter was scheduled for a Bench Trial on December 29,
2015. Prior to trial, Wolfe filed a jury demand and motion to
continue the trial date. The case was rescheduled for a
pretrial conference on February 9, 2016 and a jury trial on
February 11, 2016. Wolfe failed to appear for the scheduled
pretrial and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Wolfe was arrested on February 22, 2016 and this case was
rescheduled for a Pretrial and Jury Trial on April 5, 2016
and April 7, 2016.
Wolfe filed a Motion to Continue on May 2, 2106 and this case
was consolidated with the case involving his wife and
rescheduled for a Jury Trial on May 26, 2016.
On May 26, 2016, the Jury Trial was held and the following
evidence was presented.
Randy Bussey is a member of the Buckeye Lake Street
Department. Bussey testified that he found a puppy behind the
Dollar General in Buckeye Lake in a Dollar General shopping
bag. The bag was tied closed. Bussey immediately called
Sergeant Andy Davis.
Sergeant Davis responded to Bussey's phone call and met
with him at the Buckeye Lake Police Department. Sergeant
Davis observed the puppy and noted that it was "soaking
wet" and "looked to be pretty sick." Sergeant
Davis and Bussey took the puppy to the local Petplex Animal
Several days later, Sergeant Davis interviewed Wolfe and his
co-defendant, Ms. Levan. During that interview, Ms. Levan
stated that she had "gotten two dogs from Michael Moyer,
" that the dogs were pit bull puppies, and that the
first puppy had passed away. Sergeant Davis testified that
Ms. Levan stated that they had "met some random guy that
was walking down the street" who "agreed to take
[the] puppy...." (T. at 64). Ms. Levan admitted that if
the puppy was found in a bag, that the bag would have her
fingerprints on it because "she had handed [the] unknown
man [the] dog in the bag..." (T. at 65).
Doctor Joanna Reen, the veterinarian who treated the dog
described the puppy's physical situation as "pretty
critical" at intake: that she was hypothermic,