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CANFIELD Men who beat cows get sentence deadline



Published: Fri, May 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge had recommended that the men serve their sentences caring for or cleaning up after animals, but no local organization would have them.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Three Canfield men sentenced to 120 hours of community service for breaking the ribs and slashing the hides of dairy cattle during an attack last summer have two years to complete that service.

Ryan C. Russo of Squires Court, Ryan A. Stevens of Topaz Circle and Patrick J. Lane of Dartmouth Avenue have until January 2004, two years from the time they were sentenced, to comply with the court's order.

Judge Scott D. Hunter of Mahoning County Court here had recommended that the men serve their sentences helping to care for or clean up after animals, but no local organization that looks after animals would have them, says a spokeswoman for the Mahoning County Probation Office.

Russo, Stevens and Lane were ordered to complete the community service, make restitution to the owners of the dairy farm and pay a $250 fine after pleading no contest to a charge of animal cruelty in county court in January. The judge found them guilty.

They also were sentenced to 24 months' probation and ordered to undergo psychological testing, counseling and treatment for behavior management.

Attacks

Initially, Russo, Stevens and Lane were charged with felony vandalism and criminal trespassing after they used a baseball bat and fluorescent light tubes to beat cattle grazing in a pasture on Detwiler Road in Beaver Township, breaking the ribs of at least three cows and causing numerous cuts and bruises.

After the attack June 30, 2001, the men also spray painted an obscene message referring to the incident on the street in front of the pasture.

Had they been convicted under the felony vandalism charge, they could have been sentenced to up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine. Under the criminal trespassing charge they could have been sentenced to a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

They pleaded no contest to the lesser charge as part of an agreement with the prosecutor and the dairy farmers.

What the men were to have paid in restitution to farmers David and Kathy Moff was not disclosed.

The Moffs suffered ongoing damage to their business because their cows' milk production dropped significantly as a result of the attack.

Finding work

In February, a spokeswoman for the probation office told The Vindicator she was "having trouble finding something" for the men to do to complete their community service.

By April, the probation office had made arrangements for the men to put in their time working for Beaver Township performing odd jobs -- cleaning police cars, cutting grass, painting and helping the recycling coordinator.

They were to have been informed of their assignments by mid-April and were instructed to call Beaver Township to arrange their work schedules.

As of Thursday, none of the men had called, said police Lt. Ken Frost, who oversees the township's community service program.

kubik@vindy.com




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