LEETONIA, Ohio (WYTV) – A Leetonia man is facing felony animal cruelty charges following an investigation of a complaint about the condition of animals in his care.
A grand jury indicted John Arsuffi, 63, on nine counts of the charge. According to the prosecutor, he turned himself into the jail, where he was served.
The indictment stems from an incident in January in which the Columbiana County Dog Warden received a complaint from a power utility employee working in the area about animals living in deplorable conditions. Ultimately, two dogs were found emaciated but alive, and seven were found deceased, all from apparent starvation, according to a press release from the Columbiana County prosecutor’s office.
While previously classified as misdemeanor offenses, the cruelty of companion animals was elevated to the felony level by virtue of “Goddard’s Law,” named after the late Cleveland-area
broadcaster, Dick Goddard, who was a long-time advocate for animals’ rights throughout Ohio.
“The offenses are heinous, and the scene was one which no living creature should have to
endure,” said Columbiana County Prosecuting Attorney Vito Abruzzino. “My office will pursue this case vigorously to ensure that justice is served for what happened to these helpless animals. My hat is off to the utility worker that spoke out and called this dire situation to the attention of the Columbiana County Dog Warden.”
Arsuffi’s bond was set at $15,000, and he is set to appear for arraignment at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 1.