Police found a dead, starved dog outside a Campbell home last January.


By Sarah Lehr

slehr@vindy.com

CAMPBELL

An animal cruelty case, involving an emaciated dog found dead and frozen last January, is slated to go to trial.

At a status hearing Friday, Prosecutor Brian Macala and defense attorney James E. Lanzo said they had not reached a resolution in the case and were prepared to go trial.

Judge Patrick Cunning asked for a trial date to be set within 60 days.

Tameka Smith, 24, is charged with animal cruelty, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Police charged Smith after responding to a Jan. 13, 2015, call from a Hubbard man who said he found a dead dog in the backyard of a Reed Avenue home. The man told police he used to live there and was returning to retrieve his property.

A police report states the deceased dog was tied up, partially inside a doghouse and partially outside, and “severely underweight.” There were no food or water bowls near the dog, the report states.

Lanzo said his client was not responsible for the dog.

“Not only was it not her dog, but she wasn’t even living at the residence where the incident occurred,” Lanzo said.

Lanzo presented the court with documents, including rent receipts from November 2014 through February 2015, indicating that Smith had been living on Jacobs Road, rather than Reed Avenue where the dog was found dead.

A police report and an online court record list Smith’s address as Reed Avenue.

A police officer said Friday, however, that police believe Smith was not living on Reed Avenue at the time of the dog’s death.

The Hubbard man who reported the incident told police Smith had been caring for the dog after the dog’s previous owner moved out of the Reed Avenue home in August 2014, according to the police report.

About a dozen animal welfare advocates protested outside the courthouse before the hearing.

“We want the court to make sure someone is held responsible,” Holly Justice of Youngstown said. “We’re here to speak for animals because they can’t speak for themselves.”

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