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State v. Hall

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Tuscarawas

June 13, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
TANYA M. HALL Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the New Philadelphia Municipal Court, Case No. CRB1700766

          For Plaintiff-Appellee LACEE FELIX Asssatant City Prosecutor New Philadelphia City Prosecutor's Office.

          For Defendant-Appellant ABIGAIL J. CHRISTOPHER Assistant Public Defender Tuscarawas County Public Defender.

          Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J., Judge.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} 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.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} 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:

         {¶7} 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.

         {¶8} Q: In your written statement to the warden you referred to those as love bites. ...


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