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Former kennel owner acquitted of latest charges

Published: Thu, June 28, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.


Atty. James E. Lanzo, right, represents Steven Croley, 41, who was charged with failing to register a dog. Croley was found not guilty of the charge Wednesday in Mahoning County Area Court in Austintown.

By Ashley Luthern



The former owner of High Caliber K-9 Kennel who was found guilty of four counts of animal cruelty in 2008 was acquitted of failing to register a dog.

Steven Croley, 41, appeared in Mahoning County Area Court here to face the minor misdemeanor. Atty. James E. Lanzo represented Croley, just as he did earlier this year when Croley was found not guilty after being accused of violating terms of his probation by having three dogs on the Austintown property where he lives with his wife, Renee McCalpin Croley.

Dave Nelson, field supervisor for the Mahoning County dog warden, was called to the stand Wednesday. He said Renee McCalpin registered the three dogs in June 2010 at the Austintown address, but failed to do so in 2011.

McCalpin registered the dogs Dec. 22, 2011, after receiving a notice on her door from the dog warden’s office to provide proof of registration, Nelson said.

The main question at trial was why McCalpin was not issued the citation, if she was the only person to have registered the three dogs.

“Renee McCalpin is the registered owner in 2010 and the next registered owner. ... There’s no testimony that [Croley] owned or harbored ... these animals,” Lanzo said.

Prosecutor Ken Cardinal concurred, and Judge David A. D’Apolito acquitted Croley.

Before the trial, about a dozen people stood outside the courthouse holding signs and wearing T-shirts in support of House Bill 108, also known as Nitro’s Law, named after one of the dogs found starved to death on the High Caliber property.

The bill would make it illegal for kennel owners, managers or employees to abuse or neglect pets in their care and raise the level of the offense to a felony.

“We just really want this law to be passed,” said Deborah Clemens, of Upper Sandusky, who was seated in the courtroom.

Krista Smith, of Niles, agreed.

“It happened here in our area. I feel [Croley’s] gotten away with so much, like he’s above the law,” Smith said.

Croley told The Vindicator he felt he was called to work with dogs, but now has a welding job. He maintained his innocence — “I never starved any dogs” — and said he supports Nitro’s Law.

Croley, who married McCalpin in October 2010, said he now has a 1-year-old son who is his priority.

“I want to move on with my life,” he said.


1kensgirl(987 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

So did Nitro. SHAME!!!

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2KristaisTheBoss(12 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

If he was "called to work with dogs" then why did he starve 8 of them to death?
I don't feel he is above the law, I know he is.. He has gotton away with just a slap on the hand because Ohio's Animal Abuse Laws are laughable! This is why HB108 Nitro's Law is so important right now!!!! (www.nitrofoundation.com / www.facebook.com/nitroslaw)
He previously owned the dogs in question (Hannah and Peanut) and they were taken from him in 2008 after the raid on K9 Caliber. But the one dog is worth thousands and his greedy self talked his NOW wife Renee into adopted them and put them under her maiden name so no one would know!! The Justice System has failed Nitro and the others who died at the hands of Steven Croley but it dosn't have to fail you or anyone else if this Law passes.. Please get involved and don't let this another creep like this go free..

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3HexedCell(5 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

This man is such a con he even believes his own lies..."never starved any dogs" ..so what was the lie this time? the they died of parvo sham? Everyone take a real good look at this man he is a KILLER and one day maybe people will take it more seriously when he snaps and kills a human...Keep your dogs away from him or they might be next...I hope he never gets to "move on with his life" even if it is a misdemeanor in Ohio I hope he never forgets what pain he caused...Im pretty sure he supports the bill so he can brag to his friends that hes the monster that made it possible,,,,Come on Ohio contact your senators and urge them to Pass HB108 so your babies wont have to go through the same horror nitro, his kennelmate's and families had to!!

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4cally(23 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Let's put Steve Croley in a cell with the scum that runs West Side Cats - formerly known as Cat Ladies Society. Change the name, but keep the same moron/scam artist running the place. How many cats have to die before this POS is stopped? Those poor animals are sick and dying, getting no medical care and people are protecting her while she says, "Just tag them and bag them and into the freezer they go." This is a disgrace to Youngstown and how far they have come in the care of animals.
Please stand up for the animals!!!!! Standing by silently watching animals die every day does not help them.
They should both be locked up together and throw away the key. Special place in Hell for both of them.

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5mdsmeck(12 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I really don't understand how this inhumane individual keeps getting off on everything...There is proof that everything has been nothing but lie after lie from day 1 and hopefully, it will come to light...All I can say is KARMA, Baby...Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it WILL happen...

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