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Defense: Evidence should be thrown out of Butler County animal cruelty case

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

Animal rights Protestors gather outside Oxford Courthouse for justice for Doberman named Lou

An attorney for a Reily Twp. man facing misdemeanor charges of cruelty to companion animals after the death of his dog, Lou, has filed a motion to suppress evidence.

A judge this morning continued a hearing on the motion until Sept. 19 for David Neanover, 35, of the 6100 block of Main St. He faces three first-degree misdemeanor charges. A Butler County grand jury declined to indict Neanover on felony charges, instead sending the case back to county area court.

MORE: Animal cruelty cases spark protests in Butler County

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Charles M. Rittgers last week filed the motion stating that on April 22, a deputy dog warden was dispatched to the Neanover residence for a welfare check but was unable to make contact with anyone at the residence.

The deputy dog warden observed through a hole in a fence a “skinny dog with sores on his body,” according to the defense.

Protesters were outside an Oxford courtroom on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, for the hearing of David Neanover, who is accused of animal cruelty. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

After multiple attempts to contact Neanover or anyone at the residence, the deputy dog warden went back to the backyard to take pictures of the dog, according to the motion.

“Then without a search warrant or consent, (the deputy dog warden) climbed Mr. Neanover’s fence, entered Mr. Neanover’s yard and seized the dog,” Rittgers said in the motion.

MORE A large protest supporting a starved dog signaled Butler County’s recent boost in animal cruelty cases

The defense argues Neanover’s privacy rights were violated and any evidence obtained, visual and physical, should be suppressed. The defense has also filed a motion for a jury trial.

According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, deputy dog wardens found the emaciated dog at the residence. The dog, named Lou by caregivers, was cared for and hospitalized for five days at Animal Care Centers and died several days later.

The medical staff was surprised when X-rays showed rocks in the dog’s stomach. He lived his life on a very short chain and was “deprived food for quite some time,” according to the Animal Friends Humane Society.