Local pig cruelty allegations: Appeals court rules against owners

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 4:39 PM


            Brian Weltge, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, last year discussing four new projects. STAFF
Brian Weltge, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, last year discussing four new projects. STAFF

A state appeals court has reversed a trial court’s decision to grant a motion to suppress in an animal cruelty case out of Drexel and involving pigs.

Two brothers were charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, a second-degree misdemeanor, after an agent with the Human Society of Greater Dayton seized seven pigs from their property at 6719 Dayton-Liberty Road.

On Jan. 7, Humane Society agent Heather Concannon removed seven pigs from a property that she says “we’re freezing to death,” including piglets whose teeth were chattering and their ears were shaking, according to her testimony in municipal court for the western division of Montgomery County.

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She testified that it was 6 degrees outside, not accounting for the wind chill.

Concannon said there was an ongoing investigation into cruelty to animals at the property since 2015. She testified that on Jan. 3 she heard what sounded like an animal in distress and walked up the driveway where she discovered a pig enclosure, according to documents from the Second Court of Appeals of Ohio for the second appellate district.

The pigs were stuck in cold mud and were at risk of hypothermia, Concannon testified, and she told the property owners they needed to remedy the hazardous conditions of the pens by the weekend. She said the brothers had agreed to fix the problems by the afternoon of Jan. 7.

But Concannon removed the pigs sometime after 12:01 a.m. Jan. 7, which she claims was necessary to save their lives. She testified that a storm was coming in and she had to act quickly.

As a result of the seizure, animal cruelty charges were filed against the brothers.

The defendants argued that Concannon performed unconstitutional searches of their farm property, violating their Fourth Amendment rights. Concannon admitted in testimony that she never obtained a search warrant.

In April, a municipal court judge with the Western Division of Montgomery County granted a motion to suppress the evidence collected and observed by Concannon and the statements the brothers made.

But this week, an appeals court ruled that Concannon’s observation and removal of the pigs were not unlawful.

The state argued that her observations of the pigs and their pen were from the access driveway on a non-residential farm field, which lacks reasonable expectations of privacy. Her observation falls under the open view exception to the warrant requirements, and her observation was not an actual search, subject to Fourth Amendment protections, the court ruled.

No injuries from apartment fire on Summit Square Drive in Dayton

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:28 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:16 AM

UPDATE @ 12:12 a.m.: An arson investigator has been called to the scene of the apartment fire in the 800 block of Summit Square Drive. 

Dayton Fire Capt. Brad Baldwin said crews arrived to find heavy fire on the first floor of a unit and at least two people had climbed out of a second-floor window before crews arrived. 

The fire affected three apartments -- flames damaged one, smoke got into the adjoining units. 

One of the occupants said she heard "popping and cracking" coming from the kitchen, Baldwin said. 

No injuries were reported, he said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

INITIAL REPORT

Crews are dealing with a fire in the 800 block of Summit Square Drive in Dayton. 

Dayton crews were dispatched just after 11 p.m. on a report of a possible structure fire. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Dayton police officer under investigation for OVI

We're hearing they arrived to find heavy flames in a first-floor unit. There are no reports of injuries. 

We have a crew on the way. We will update this developing report. Stay with whio.com for breaking news.

Soldier from Clark County is missing from Fort Drum, New York

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:27 PM

Soldier from Clark Co. missing out of Fort Drum, NY

Spc. Trevor Nichols, a soldier from Clark County, is missing from Fort Drum, N.Y., and a national organization is asking for the public's help in finding him. 

"I see absolutely nothing that says foul play" or suicide, Brenda Paradise, a private investigator who volunteers for Guardian Search and Investigations. 

That organization issued a press release Thursday about Spc. Nichols, 24, of Tremont City, was was last seen Nov. 17, according to Guardian Search and Investigations. 

The watertowndailytimes.com is reporting that the specialist left without his driver’s license, military ID card or his cell phone and has not had any contact with his family since being missing. 

Julie A. Halpin, Fort Drum spokeswoman, told the news organization that Spc. Nichols was a soldier with the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team as of November. He was listed as absent without leave on Nov. 15 and his status was updated to deserter on Dec. 18. 

Paradise, in an interview with whio.com tonight, said the specialist was in basic training in 2012, has served a tour in Afghanistan and just returned from a tour in Iraq last May. 

Spc. Nichols is estranged from his wife and they have a son who is just shy of 2 years old, Paradise said. She was living on base with the specialist until recently, Paradise said. 

Paradise said the military was transitioning him farther away from his son, and that may have affected the specialist. 

Spc. Trevor Nichols (Courtesy/Nichols family)

The soldier's mother, Erin Nichols, also has filed a missing person's report through the Clark County Sheriff's Office. 

"I can't even imagine where he would have gone," she said in a phone call Thursday night. 

Mrs. Nichols said her son, the youngest of three boys who grew up in Enon and joined the Army right out of Enon High School, was to report to Fort Riley, Kansas, on Dec. 7. 

She said she also believes that transfer has something to do with her son being missing. 

Mrs. Nichols said she last spoke with him by phone on Nov. 14, the day he was trying to move his estranged wife's belongings to storage. 

If you have information about Spc. Nichols, you are asked to call investigator Paradise at 907-795-5292, referencing case number 17-1689237, the Tremont City, Ohio, police department at 937-969-8281, or 911.

Good Samaritan Hospital closing will stress EMS transport system, Dayton chief says

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 10:41 PM

EMS transport system impacted by Good Sam closure

Premier Health's decision to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton by the end of the year will stress the city fire department's emergency transport system, but the issue will be regional issue in terms of emergency medical service response and transport, Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne said. 

"It will leave a little bit of a void in coverage for emergency rooms we can transport to," he said of the Dayton Fire Department, but "we should still be able to get patients to the hospital within five minutes or so, for the most part." 

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The closing of Good Samaritan will mean longer transport times, which will stress the Dayton Fire Department's system, the chief said, noting, "this could be problematic, but I think it's something we can handle." 

The protocols -- official procedures or a system of rules under which all hospitals and fire departments operate -- call for taking patients to the closest hospital. 

Payne said, "The most important message we need the public to understand is that regardless of which hospital you go to ... whether it's Miami Valley, Kettering, Grandview, the VA , Wright-Patt, they all operate under the same protocols to make sure you get swift, efficient and effective patient care." 

He warned that the void left by the hospital's closing will be a regional issue, not just a city of Dayton issue, in terms of EMS response and transport because there are a number of fire departments that normally transport to Good Samaritan Hospital. 

Payne stopped his comments there, saying he didn't want to speak for those other fire departments.

Dayton officer who spoke about police shootings under investigation for OVI

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 7:31 PM

25-year-old Jermar Rayford was pulled over in Greene County last week.

Dayton Police Officer Jermar Rayford appeared in court this week on an OVI charge stemming from a traffic stop in Greene County just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 12. 

According to documents from Fairborn Municipal Court, Rayford, 25, was driving a black 2017 Dodge bearing Florida license tags when he was stopped by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper on eastbound Col. Glenn Boulevard near Presidential Drive in Beavercreek. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Police searching for suspect in shooting

He was driving 69 mph in a 45-mph zone, according to the court document, and refused a blood alcohol test. 

Rayford was summoned into court on Tuesday morning. 

He is the police officer who performed the Superman in 2015 while dancing to Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) at the Taste of All Things Oregon.

RELATED: Meet Dayton’s whipping, nae-naeing cop

The 2010 Chaminade Julienne graduate became a local celebrity when several people posted videos and photos of his dancing to social media. 

Rayford also gained local attention in July 2016 when he posted a video to social media, offering an emotional plea to the Dayton community focused toward police-community relations.

RELATED: Dayton officer’s plea - ‘I bleed just like you’

At the time, he said he posted the video in reaction to the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both of whom were killed by police. The video surfaced hours before five Dallas police officers were shot and killed.

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