Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Tuscarawas
from the New Philadelphia Municipal Court, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee LACEE FELIX Asssatant City Prosecutor New
Philadelphia City Prosecutor's Office.
Defendant-Appellant ABIGAIL J. CHRISTOPHER Assistant Public
Defender Tuscarawas County Public Defender.
William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon.
Craig R. Baldwin, J., Judge.
Defendant-appellant Tanya M. Hall appeals her conviction and
sentence from the New Philadelphia Municipal Court on one
count of cruelty against a companion animal.
Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
On June 19, 2017, appellant was charged with one count of
cruelty against a companion animal in violation of R.C.
959.131(B). At her arraignment on June 29, 2017, appellant
entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.
Thereafter, a bench trial was held on October 3, 2017. At the
trial, Terry Warner, the Tuscarawas County Dog Warden who was
the Assistant Dog Warden at the time of the incident in this
case, testified that he received a call on June 19, 2017 from
the Sheriffs Department. On the day in question, it was hot,
sunny and humid. Warner testified that the Sheriffs Office
had notified him that a person on Club Lane was being bit by
a dog and that the dog was confined at the time. He further
testified that it took him 25 to 30 minutes to arrive at the
location after receiving the call.
When he arrived at the location, Warner spoke with appellant
who showed him where she had been bitten by the dog on her
arms. Appellant, according to him, was "worked up,
scared, stressed, " and told him that the dog, which was
a pit bull mix, had attacked her. Trial Transcript at 10.
Appellant told Warner that the dog was in her car and when he
looked inside, he saw that the dog was breathing rapidly. The
dog had a temperature of 108 degrees and was transported to a
local veterinarian's office where it later died on the
same day of heat stroke. It had been 115 degrees inside the
car. Warner testified that his office did not have any prior
reports of the dog attacking anyone.
Warner further testified that when he spoke with appellant,
she told him that she had put the dog in the vehicle after
she was unable to get the dog back into her mobile home when
she was leaving for a doctor's appointment. At the time,
the vehicle was not running and the windows were not down. He
did not think that the vehicle was locked.
Miranda Christmas testified at the bench trial that appellant
lived with her and that the dog had been her dog. She
testified that the dog was a loving, smart dog and that if a
person was trying the leave the house, he would "jump
and he would, you know, like grab your arm, " Trial
Transcript at 35. Christmas testified that she did not think
that the dog intended to attack anyone, but that his
intention was to "keep you there, you know, by all means
possible he was going to keep you there or he was going with
you." Trial Transcript at 35. The following testimony
was adduced when she was asked if she had ever known the dog
to be violent or bite someone:
A: Yes. He bit my neighbor. My neighbor was wrestling with
him and he drew blood at his ear and he one time bit her
husband when he was trying to leave. He was trying to get him
to go outside so she could leave and he, I think he got him
in the face, in the cheek.
Q: In your written statement to the warden you referred to
those as love bites. ...