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Neglect case against ex-kennel owner postponed

Published: Thu, October 7, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken



The jury trial of a dog owner’s civil lawsuit against a former kennel owner in a high-profile case of suspected animal neglect will be postponed until the defendant’s bankruptcy case is concluded, says a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court official.

Elizabeth Raab. of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., owner of a 3-year-old male Rottweiler named Nitro, who died in October 2008, sued Steven Croley, 38, former owner of the High Caliber K-9 Kennel on Coitsville-Hubbard Road.

Croley filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Sept. 27 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown, reporting that he now lives on Orchard Hill Drive in Austintown and listing Raab as one of 28 creditors.

Croley’s bankruptcy filing said his estimated assets are between $50,000 and $100,000; his estimated liabilities are less than $50,000; and his debts are primarily consumer debts. His full-time job at Dearing Compressor and Pump Co. in Boardman pays him $540 a week, plus overtime, he reported.

The trial in the dog case was to begin Sept. 28 before Magistrate Timothy G. Welsh of common pleas court, but Welsh granted Raab’s request for a postponement due to recent tornado damage to her house.

Raab’s suit says Nitro died because Croley failed to provide adequate food, water, lodging or care for him.

Raab dropped Nitro off at the kennel in June 2008 under a $750-a-month agreement that the kennel would feed, house and train Nitro for at least three months, and that Raab would pay for any necessary veterinary care, the suit says.

The suit alleges the kennel, however, failed to train the dog or have him examined or treated by a veterinarian.

“Nitro died under defendant’s care due to long-term neglect,” according to the suit, which seeks more than $25,000 in damages.

Croley says in a pretrial affidavit, however, that Nitro died from a virus and that Croley could not have prevented the dog’s death. Croley says in the affidavit that Raab hired him to find a home for Nitro.

In a separate criminal case, Croley was convicted in January 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, fined $1,000 and jailed for four months.

The kennel was shut down in fall 2008, when the criminal charges were filed, after animal owners found seven dead and 12 starving dogs there, but it later reopened under new ownership.


1MsMuffit2002(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

The Bankruptcy court should deny his request as he is using the system to avoid paying his responsibilities to the people whose dogs he tortured and murdered by starvation, thirst and exposure. He needs to sell his assets and pay what he owes to the people he has hurt so deeply. He is a POS who deserves no more sympath than he provided to the dogs who died in his care. Readers need to support Nitro's Law HB70 currently in Ohio Senate committee to provide felony charges for this type of abuse. He should be under the jail, not out living his life like nothing happened.

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2pamewame(48 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Its just amazing how much deeper this case seems to get. What some people will do to get out of an obligation. Will the courts of Ohio let him off with another slap on the wrist?? Will he ever be made to take responsibility for his actions? May Nitro be given the justice he so greatly deserves. Nitro's Law HB 70.

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3joe1616(52 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

we should petition the Federal Bankruptcy Laws to exclude Steve Croley. wow, are you people serious?

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4luvsdogs(70 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

this Steve Croley lies like a rug and he is a low-life coward. Is he a vet? how did he know Nitro and the other dogs had a virus? Did a vet examine them? I saw those photos and will never forget them, skin over bones rotting in the elements, no water, no food, nothing, poop all over the place, absolutely horrific. Some of the dogs in those photos were dead for quite some time and yet he did nothing. He took those peoples' money and didn't feed or care for those dogs, photos don't lie! Why didn't he call their owners? When he gets caught in one lie, he changes his story again and again. Yes he will do anything and everything to get out of his obligations. I support Nitro's Law HB70 and have encouraged my Senator to do so as well. The laws and punishments for animal cruelty in Ohio are archaic and they allow abusers like Croley to live right next door to us. Lock your doors! Keep an extra close eye on your dogs. I know I am, as I am certain that anyone that could torture animals as he has is fully capable of doing the same to humans.

I am very shocked and disappointed that a respectable family owned business would employ him or others like him.

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5dogexaminer(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

@Onthetown: Excuses 101, yours is a gem: "If you have issues with Croley not being in jail, it is due to the unlawful conduct of the humane agents (Animal Charity of Ohio) who compromised this case.

From multiple vantage points these "unlawful humane agents" had their vision fields filled with indescribable suffering. They forced down the vomit rising in their throats from the smell of decay and death of the rotting corpses that were once dogs as they lay dead in their own filth for days…weeks enveloping them, as they witnessed survivors of this death camp screaming in a panic that they might finally be freed, frantically clawing with bloodied paws in final desperation. Starved but alive, they were skeletons wrapped in fur. But some, a puppy, too weak to even stand, bark, cry, or even whimper, a bag of bones, sat listlessly next to a dead border collie that lay dead in filth in the next cage. A despondent puppy with only enough energy to die. Another dog left so long with no human contact, no food, confused, scared, dying. He came from Germany to suffer unspeakable torture and reach his pathetic end of being put out of his misery with a dart gun to his heart through the fence of his kennel, because he was so neglected and abused that he knew only to respond in aggression.

You deem it unlawful to ease another living beings suffering, unlawful to save lives? Marked or motivated by concern, compassion in the alleviation of suffering, that is the definition of "humane."

What decent and compassionate human being should/would not ease the suffering of another living being in extraordinary circumstances when they had the power to do so? How could/should we expect less?

I would challenge such moronic ignorance in such logic to be on the other side of that gate while those starving victims, trapped, unable to get out...begged you for help.

Would you have the indecency to withhold your assistance when you had the ability and power to help them? To withstand the knowledge that their death could/would occur on your shoulders, as you stood there, doing nothing, with that smell of decay filling your nose, and their screams filled your ears...waiting for what could have been realistically hours...even days... for a judge to sign a piece of paper? Would that save their lives and relieve them of their suffering and misery? Or would that be prolonging their agony, unnecessarily in the cruel torture of such endurance until then?

That is a crime in itself against humanity, and that is not the role of a "humane agent" nor is it even the role or qualities of a decent and worthy "human being."

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6dogexaminer(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

(Previous comment continued)
The gross injustice and immorality is not only in the multiple felonious crimes of abuse and torture against these living beings that took place, but in the persecution, and direction of responsibility against any of the humane agents for assisting and relieving those remaining dogs of their suffering. The trivialization of these crimes and unjust punishment that transpired in promotion of accepted ignorance and moronic logic of a legal technicality is a crime in itself. Those that further assign blame in supporting such logic are no better than Croley himself who still to this day has yet to repent and acknowledge his crimes against these helpless beings. Instead he persists in the waste of energy in assigning blame elsewhere other than at his very own front door. Only Steve Croley made the decision to starve, abuse, and torture multiple lives. There are no excuses. PERIOD. Their lives were trivialized in a court of law because they were animals, had this have been children I would not be typing these words.

A bill "Nitro's Law" HB70 constructed in these dogs honor that lost their lives to such a senseless crime and miscarriage of justice still sits stagnant in the archaic state of Ohio's senate for improved animal welfare legislation. A law designed to offer more protection and compensation in deterrance of these crimes against animals being committed. Over a year, and still it sits. Another gross injustice in the continued disrespect and belittled value placed on innocent lives in this grievous crime.

See in a dogs eyes:


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7leo(12 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Steve Croley sounds like one of the Cat Ladies. Blame everyone and everything else for the wrong you did to animals. Then you never have to take responsibility for what you have done. I am sure we'll hear from Kimm's followers. Oh well, even Charles Manson had a group of followers. He did no wrong in their eyes either.
Hope they all rot in hell together.

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