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Youngstown man faces animal cruelty, drug charges

BOARDMAN — A man is jailed after being accused of beating a dog and breaking its femur at a Boardman hotel.

Dante Mason, 31, of Oregon Avenue, Youngstown, is being held on charges of cruelty to a companion animal and possession of drugs / drug abuse.

The puppy underwent surgery in Akron.

Mason was arraigned Tuesday in Mahoning County court and will appear for a preliminary hearing March 9.

Officers on Monday responded to a call at the Red Roof Inn on Tiffany South regarding suspected animal cruelty.

A guest told the front desk about being awakened by loud commotion next door — and sounds of an animal “in distress and being abused,” according to a police report.

Upon arrival, officers heard a man talking loudly and walking around inside the room, heard the dog being struck and the dog yelping, the report states.

Officers knocked on the door several times, announcing themselves. Mason initially refused to open the door, but finally did. He appeared “angry about the fact his dog” had relieved itself on the bed, and he was teaching it a lesson, the report states.

When officers asked Mason to step into the hallway to talk, he was reluctant but complied.

Officers discovered Mason had an active warrant from Liberty police for tampering with evidence, possession of drugs and possession of of criminal tools, and other misdemeanor charges.

It was discovered during a check of the hotel room that Mason had fentanyl, a police report states.

Once secured in handcuffs, Mason gave permission for officers to check on the dog, which was in the tub of the hotel room.

The dog, a brown and white pitbull puppy, was “trembling and unable to stand.” Its back legs appeared to be broken or severely injured, officers said, and she also had a hard time breathing.

Mason acknowleged to investigators he has six more dogs at his Youngstown residence.

To assist with the investigation, more law enforcement was called, as well as the Mahoning County Dog Warden and Animal Charity of Ohio.

An agent with Animal Charity in Boardman on Tuesday confirmed the dog, named Isabella, is hospitalized at the Akron Metro Veterinary Hospital in Copley.

Isabella underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon to repair her broken femur, the agent said. She will rest for about six weeks at a medical foster home and won’t be available for adoption until after she is completely healed, the agent said.

Describing Isabella’s temperament, the agent said the puppy was initially “very scared.” To keep Isabella calm, the agent held her for about an hour.

Next, Animal Charity will head to court to try gaining custody of Isabella through a probable cause hearing, but no court date has been set, the agent said.

Donations can be made by visiting the group’s Facebook page where a link is designated toward Isabella’s surgery and after care.

afox@tribtoday.com

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