Austintown couple pleads to endangering
YOUNGSTOWN — Samuel J. Myers, 33, and his wife, Sara M. Myers, 35, both of North Raccoon Road in Austintown, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of child endangering and two misdemeanor counts each of child endangering.
Judge Anthony D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court presided over their hearing. Both will be sentenced later. Caitlyn Andrews, Mahoning County assistant prosecutor, said prosecutors are asking that Samuel and Sara Myers each get a period of incarceration and to not have contact with the children other than what is authorized by Mahoning County Children Services.
They each could get up to three years in prison on the felony child endangering. Samuel and Sara Myers both remain free on bond.
The charges relate to conduct from Feb. 7, 2022, to Aug. 7, 2022, according to their indictment.
The charges stem from Austintown police going to the Myers’ home Aug. 7, 2022, after Niles police reported that a concerned citizen called them after seeing a family in the parking lot of the Target store at the Eastwood Mall, and one of the children appeared to be bruised.
The citizen said he or she approached one of the parents and asked about the bruising and Sara Myers said the bruising came from their dog. The citizen got a license plate number for the family’s vehicle.
When Austintown police arrived at the house in Austintown, an officer spoke with Samuel and Sara Myers. Sara said she had a verbal altercation with a person at the store.
Samuel said he just arrived home from work, and Sara advised him of the incident. The officer asked if he could check the welfare of the three children, and Sara yelled into the house for the three children to come outside.
The children seemed hesitant, but Sara said “Come on out,” and “You have to come talk,” and “Don’t be afraid,” and “I know Mommy is upset too.”
One child came out with bruising on the side of his or her head. The child’s right and left arm also had bruising from the arm to the shoulder. The child’s legs also had minor cuts and bruising on them. And the child appeared to be malnourished, a police report states.
Two other children appeared not to have bruising. Their feet were dirty from not wearing shoes or socks.
An officer asked Samuel “what’s going on,” and Samuel said “his arms,” and then replied that it is related to the dog. Samuel and Sara both said the dog is not aggressive, but when one of the children screams, the dog does not like it and the dog grabs the arm of one of the children and pulls on it, the report states.
She appeared to not know the child had a bruise on his head. The officer spoke privately with the child that was bruised, and he said when the dog comes after him, his parents do not try to stop the dog because “that is my punishment” for temper tantrums.
The child showed officers his feet, and they were bright red on the bottom and had lots of dirt on them, the report states. Then officers spoke with the two other children and they both indicated that “the dog” was responsible for the injuries to the third child.
When officers went into the house they were “hit in the face with the smell or urine and feces, which were on the dining room floor. A bedroom also was covered in feces. The only pillow was on the floor covered in urine and feces, the report states. Another dining room also had urine and feces in it.
Police found two dogs in a bedroom that were undernourished. Four other dogs also were in the home and not in good health, police said.
A bed in a bedroom was completely covered in urine and feces. In the basement was a cat litter box “overflowing with feces.” Samuel’s mother came to the home and took custody of the three children.
Animal Charity was contacted to come remove the animals.