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Dog abuser makes a deal

Published: Fri, January 23, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Dog abuser makes a deal

Steve Croley got away with murder, in the colloquial sense, not literally. By definition, murder involves purposely killing another human being. Croley’s crime: He allowed 19 dogs that were in his care to go without food, and seven starved.

Nothing went as it should have in Croley’s criminal case.

First, the city prosecutor’s office determined that it could pursue only four cases against Croley because his premises were entered by humane agents without a warrant. Only cases based on evidence of animal cruelty that was clearly visible without entering Croley’s High Caliber K-9 kennel at 1516 Coitsville-Hubbard Road were filed.

Croley took money from people to care for and train some of the dogs He spent the money in ways unknown, but certainly not in caring for the animals. He faced no criminal charges for what appears to be accepting payment under false pretenses. He was, however, ordered to make some financial restitution.

The charges that Croley did face could have brought him a year in jail, had he been found guilty and the maximum three-month sentences ordered to be served concurrently. But he entered a plea bargain that brought him a total sentence of fourth months in jail, one on each count. He was fined $1,000 in total, rather than $750 on each count.

Lucky to be a Buckeye

Croley was fortunate that he committed his crimes in Ohio, where animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. In 45 other states, he could have faced felony charges.

City Prosecutor Jay Macejko said last month that Ohio should have a felony animal cruelty statute. We would agree. But at the same time, had Croley been prosecuted to the full extent of the law, found guilty and sentenced accordingly, he would have faced three times as much jail time and three times the fine that he managed to get with a plea bargain.

To the extent that he has assets, he could face civil suits from some of the owners of the dogs he starved. To the extent that he doesn’t have assets, it’s equally possible that no lawyer will agree to pursue a civil case.

Certainly the case points up the need for better training for humane agents and better coordination with the city law department. And Ohio should join the vast majority of other states in increasing the legal liability for those who will follow Croley’s path, as some inevitably will. At least a felony charge would make it easier for prosecutors to drive harder plea bargains.

But those improvements will be of little consolation to the people who thought they were doing a good thing for their pets when they turned them over to Steve Croley. They will have to live with their mistakes and content themselves with the assurance from Croley’s lawyer that he is “very, very sorry.” Sorry, indeed.


1luvsdogs(70 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes he certainly did get away with this. What a disgrace. Those poor animals and their owners. I do not understand why he is not facing any criminal charges for stealing these peoples money. Those in authority should all be ashamed of themselves because they are not doing their jobs and this man has made fools of them all. We rely on the law to keep us and our animals safe from a business like this, what a joke.

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2luvsdogs(70 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago


I’m so glad to see that Justice can be served for some animals. It looks like some Judge’s are waking up.
Dog Abusers you better watch out in Alabama!!!!!!!!

WAKE UP OHIO!!!!! Steve Croley killed 7 dogs, starved 12 dogs gets 4 months in jail. What a joke!
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
Unbelievable! An abuser was actually sentenced to a prison term that is much more in line with his crime than the usual slap on the wrist we normally see. Juan Daniels pleaded guilty to the horrific crime of beating and burning his mother’s pit bull all because he couldn’t use the family car.

Looks like this atrocity pissed off Circuit Judge Charles Price as much as it pissed off all of us because the good Judge sentenced this piece of trash to a 9 year 6 month prison sentence!! This was the longest sentence ever imposed by the state of Alabama for an animal cruelty case, only 6 months short of the max that could have been imposed.

“We are hoping this will send a message not only to Juan Dan¬iels but to anyone who would want to do this,” said Deputy District Attorney Scott Green.

And as if that news isn’t sweet enough, we’ve got some icing to add to the cake, Louis Vuitton, the pit bull that was so cruelly abused now officially has a new home and family!

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3jansel(4 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

There is absolutely no excuse for starving these dogs. I just can't accept the judges ruling. And why only charged for 4 murders, he murdered 7 dogs. Nonsense, that it was because the humane agents entered the property without a warrant. If the animals are in eminent danger they are allowed. This clearly was eminent danger.
This murderer could have sent the dogs home to their owners if he was too broke to feed them. Instead he kept the dogs there just to keep getting money from their owners. It seems that there are other criminal charges that should also be brought against him. Perhaps like fraud and extortion. And he also owes money to all the people who paid him for training. Where is this restitution? Why wasn't he charged for failing to deliver the services he was paid for?
Was this judge 'out to lunch?' His ruling is totally unsatisfactory and the sentencing inadequate. This punishment certainly does not fit the crime. Someone kills 7 dogs, starves 12 more, steals money from the owners and perpetrates fraud and all he gets is 4 months? Something is very wrong here.

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4CassAnn(252 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

First of all, the prosecutors time and county money is better spent pursuing crimes against human beings rather than animals. That is the sad truth when it comes to prosecuting cases. Jails are already over run and worse criminals being turned back out on the streets to be repeat offenders because our jails are full and there is no extra $ to properly punish more serious crimes. I am in no way defending what Croley did, it was disgusting- however given a choice between someone who hurt an animal or a person, human rights are going to take the front seat.

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5Kitty093(2 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Ohio get with the program!

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