Dead dogs land Youngstown man in jail

John Burroughs banned for life from owning animals

By Justin Wier


A city man responsible for the death of two dogs will serve six months in jail, and a Mahoning County judge forbade him from ever owning an animal again.

John Burroughs, 67, of Hilltop Avenue, had pleaded guilty to two counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals for the death of two dogs found on his Hilltop Avenue property in January.

Assistant Prosecutor Martin Hume asked Judge Lou A. D’Apolito to make an example out of Burroughs.

“We want to make sure others who have animals are aware of the consequences if they don’t live up to their responsibilities,” Hume said.

Animal Charity Humane Society investigators found two puppies covered in feces, two adult dogs who appeared slightly underfed in addition to the two dead dogs in the woods when they arrived at Burroughs’ property.

An autopsy showed that the dead dogs had rocks and straw in their stomachs, Hume said.

Burroughs and a friend intended to sell the dogs.

His attorney said Burroughs no longer lived at the house, and his girlfriend and brother were responsible for the condition of the dogs, but Burroughs said he stopped by daily to feed the dogs.

“The dogs didn’t miss no meals,” Burroughs told the court.

He said one of the two dogs died of old age and he intended to bury it, but the ground had frozen.

Judge D’Apolito said he didn’t believe Burroughs intended to harm the animals, but the dogs should have been inside in freezing weather.

“Your negligence, your lack of doing what is necessary and appropriate for these living creatures caused these creatures to suffer,” Judge D’Apolito said.

He imposed the six-month jail sentence as a condition of three years’ probation.

Mary Louk, board president at Animal Charity Humane Society, said the case resulted from Goddard’s law. The 2016 legislation allows counties to charge certain animal cruelty cases as felonies.

“This is probably the strongest sentence we’ve seen in Mahoning County since that law was passed,” Louk said.

She was encouraged by the lifetime ban imposed by Judge D’Apolito that prohibits Burroughs from owning animals.

“He could go out and get more animals, but we are going to be able to check on him,” Louk said. “[We can] make sure this doesn’t happen to more animals.”

Judge D’Apolito told Burroughs he would receive a one-year prison sentence if he violates the ban.

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