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Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019 @ 11:38 AM
BUTLER COUNTY — A Monroe man found not guilty by reason of insanity on a felony charge of animal cruelty for slitting the throat of his 7-year-old dog has been committed to a treatment facility.
Michael Kelley, 62, was charged with cruelty to a companion animal, a fifth-degree felony, for allegedly killing his Yorkipoo on Nov. 2, 2018, at his residence in the 3300 block of Carol Ann Lane.
Kelley was ordered into custody after the bench trial earlier this month for his safety and the safety of the community. On Thursday, Kelley was back in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a hearing in which Judge Jennifer McElfresh determined if he is currently a mentally ill person and would remain under court order.
In February, attorney Paris Ellis filed a not guilty by reason of insanity plea on Kelley’s behalf. The plea means Kelley was insane at the time of the incident. McElfresh ordered a psychological forensic evaluation and following the trial made the ruling.
Following a second psychological evaluation, the judge determined Kelley was a mentally ill person and would remain under the court’s control for the time permitted in a fifth-degree felony, which is up to 12 months.
Ellis told the judge that after the incident Kelley was hospitalized and has been in treatment.
“It is my position his psychological health has stabilized and there is appropriate support and services already in place and he should be released without (begin sent to a facility),” he said.
But the judge said she has to consider the nature of the crime and the risk to the defendant and to the community when making a decision about the course of treatment. The psychologist recommended Kelley be sent to a facility for treatment, and McElfresh followed that recommendation.
Kelley was sent to Summit Behavioral Health, and a review of his case was scheduled for Oct. 17.
Ellis declined comment.
According to the complaint filed in November, a Butler County deputy dog warden said Kelley took the dog outside and slit its throat with a kitchen knife. However, that attempt was unsuccessful, so he then retrieved a fillet knife.
Kelley’s wife returned home and found Kelley lying on his stomach on the kitchen floor and reaching out his arms while gasping for breath, according to the Monroe police report. He did not respond to her, and the refrigerator door was open, according to police.
The dog was found in the yard near a fence with a nearly severed head, according to the report.