Court No. CRB 1800021.
A. Haselman, Fulton County Prosecuting Attorney, for
D. Adams, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
1} Appellant, Tiffany Spurgeon, appeals the judgment
of the Fulton County Court, Eastern District, denying her
motion to dismiss as a sanction for prosecutor's alleged
failure to disclose material evidence in advance of trial and
sentencing her to seven days of confinement followed by five
years of community control after a jury found her guilty of
cruelty to animals. Finding no error, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural Background
2} On January 10, 2018, appellant was indicted on
one count of failing to register a dog in violation of R.C.
955.21, a minor misdemeanor; failing to require a dog to wear
its tag in violation of R.C. 955.10, a minor misdemeanor; and
cruelty to animals in violation of R.C. 959.13, a misdemeanor
of the second degree. Immediately preceding the July 13, 2018
trial on these charges, appellant made an oral motion for
dismissal of all charges based on the prosecutor's
failure to disclose allegations of cruelty to animals against
the Fulton County Dog Warden in violation of Crim.R. 16 and
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10
L.E.2d 215 (1963). Following a brief argument, the trial
court denied appellant's motion and the matter proceeded
to trial. Therein, the following facts were established.
3} On December 7, 2017, appellant contacted a local
animal clinic's emergency phone line to inquire about
treatment for her dog's leg injury. After being advised
on first aid treatment, appellant declined emergency services
and brought the dog, a boxer, to the clinic the following
morning. There, the veterinarian noted the dog's leg
wound and also that it was generally shorter and smaller than
comparable dogs of her breed. The veterinarian performed
diagnostic imaging tests of the dog's leg to rule out
broken bones and provided it with antibiotics to treat the
wound. She also noted the dog weighed only thirteen pounds at
the time of the exam. She anticipated a boxer aged
approximately one year should weigh between fifty and sixty
pounds. Appellant testified the dog had been losing weight
since approximately Thanksgiving 2017, but she had attempted
conservative treatment recommended by a friend rather than
seeking professional assistance for that issue.
4} Through the initial treatment, the veterinarian
attempted to identify a cause of the dog's low weight.
This included multiple diagnostic tests of the dog's
blood as well as organ function. Following review of the test
results, the veterinarian determined the dog's low weight
and emaciated state was due to malnourishment from lack of
proper feeding. Appellant testified that she fed the dog on a
regular schedule and only declined to seek professional
treatment for the weight loss issue due to the expense. That
notwithstanding, the veterinarian contacted the Fulton County
Dog Warden to advise him of her findings. The warden issued a
criminal complaint against appellant containing the present
5} Since the initial treatment and through trial,
the dog remained in the care of the clinic. During that time,
with regular feeding, it has gained weight and its leg injury
has healed. Appellant continued to contact the clinic for
updates on the dog's condition throughout that time. The
veterinarian now considers the dog healthy.
6} For her defense, appellant offered testimony of
one witness, her daughter, and also testified on her own
behalf. Appellant's daughter testified the dog was
provided with adequate water and served food three times a
day. Appellant likewise testified the dog was fed three times
a day. She also testified the dog weighed between 22 and 25
pounds at Thanksgiving 2017, and had always been small in
stature. The veterinarian testified that based on her
examination and the test results she did not believe the dog
had been fed on the schedule suggested by appellant. At the
conclusion of the trial, the jury found appellant guilty of
cruelty to animals in violation of R.C. 959.13 and the matter
was continued for sentencing.
7} At sentencing, the trial court ordered appellant
to serve a 7-day jail term, reserving a 90-day jail term,
plus 5 years of community control. It is from this judgment
that appellant has filed a timely notice of appeal asserting
the following assignments of error:
Assignment of Error No. 1: The trial court abused
its discretion in denying Appellant's Motion to Dismiss
for the State's failure to produce discovery regarding
one of the State's witnesses.
Assignment of Error No. 2: Appellant's
conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence,
and Appellant is entitled to a new trial.