A Warren woman sneaked food and water to two malnourished dogs and a cat whose owner is facing criminal charges after leaving the pets outside in the 90-plus-degree heat last week.
Larry Beckwith, 53, of 230 Penn Ave. N.W., pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Warren Municipal Court on a second-degree misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He was released on a $5,000 recognizance bond and a pretrial was scheduled for Aug. 27.
Beckwith was banned by a court order from having pets. Animal Welfare of Trumbull County officials said they have the pets and they are adjusting well.
“The conditions were abhorrent and no living thing should have to live in the conditions that Mr. Beckwith has created,” the police report says. “In my opinion, Mr. Beckwith should never be in possession of any animal again as long as he is alive.”
Reports say neighbor Darlene Rehburg told police she was sneaking the cat, Troy, and the one of the dogs, Rascal, food and water for about a week because she noticed they never had food or fresh water to drink during the heat.
She told police she fed the pets because she afraid they would die in the heat.
“I reached my limit. No food, no water, and I found a cat in a carrier in inches of urine and feces,” said Rehburg. “They kept telling me they were feeding them and they weren’t. When it’s 90 degrees outside and an animal is living in that condition, it was horrible.”
Police noted when they came to Beckwith’s home on Friday, Troy was found in a pet carrier on the front porch. The carrier was half covered with a tarp and was swarming with flies, reports say.
Troy was inside the carrier with feces and several inches of urine, reports say.
Police found Rascal chained to stairs in Beckwith’s backyard. The neighbor told police she was feeding Rascal because he was so malnourished and never saw him fed. The dog would hide under the stairs unless he was called, the neighbor said.
The other dog, B.J., was found chained up inside the home. Reports say the dog was sick but Beckwith refused to take him to the veterinarian’s office.
Animal Welfare investigator Robin Stowe told police she was at the Beckwith’s home last week and tried unsuccessfully to convince Beckwith to sign the pets over to them.
She told WKBN.COM on Monday they removed another dog from Beckwith’s home a few months ago and have been monitoring him since.
Stowe said she realizes it’s difficult for neighbors to watch animals starve and encouraged neighbors to give other animals water in the heat. But because the dogs were less than malnourished, they were unable to pursue charges against Beckwith for the dogs.
“It helped the pets,” Stowe said. The neighbor “was concerned. She was trying to do what she could. We try to tell people not to feed the animals, because if they are we can’t go after the owner as much. You never want to see anything starved. We try to tell people it’s great you want to do that. Giving them water is great, but the food is pushing the line for us to be able to punish the owners.”
Beckwith said he tried to do what he could for the animals while getting around on two artificial legs. He said the dogs weren’t starving and he tried to feed them but the one dog had a tape worm and wouldn’t eat. As for the cat, Beckwith said the claims that it was lying in urine were untrue.
“He would go in his cage and I would clean it out. I would give him water and he would knock it over like a cat does,” said Beckwith. “I just can’t stand people that don’t know how to leave things alone.”