The two men charged with felony animal cruelty in the abandonment of a duct-taped dog along a rural road in Argyle last winter have turned down plea deal offers and appear headed to trial.
Both men, Shane A. Morehouse, 52, of Fort Edward, and Louis M. Hart, 43, of Hudson Falls, were in Washington County Court on Thursday as cases against them proceeded to pretrial hearings.
Lawyers for both waived hearings that could have resulted in the statements they gave police being suppressed. Hart's lawyer, Michael Martin, said his client's statement does not implicate him in any crime.
The two were indicted on felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges days after the large mixed-breed dog named Chubby was found along Coach Road with its legs and muzzle bound with duct tape.
The dog had a neck injury believed to have been caused by a tight collar, but was also found to have advanced cancer and was euthanized.
Police linked the dog to Hart after photos of it were publicized, and he told investigators he gave Chubby to Morehouse.
Morehouse, though, said Hart had asked him to get rid of the dog because he could not afford to pay for veterinary care, but Morehouse could not bring himself to kill the dog so he left it where he believed it would be found.
Martin and Morris both said they do not believe their clients committed the felony of aggravated animal cruelty.
Martin said his client was trying to find a new home for the dog, and provided Morehouse with a case of dog food when he left it with his friend.
"My client was trying to help the dog. He had it for 15 years," Martin said.
Martin said his client has been told he could plead guilty to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge and serve a jail term to resolve the charges.
Morehouse's lawyer, Washington County Assistant Public Defender Christian Morris, said the plea deal offered to his client would require he plead guilty to a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty count and serve a jail sentence as well.
Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan scheduled a pretrial conference in both cases for June 8.
"If we don't have the framework for a resolution, we're going to set a trial date," McKeighan said.
The charges are punishable by up to 2 years in state prison.
Chubby suffered at the hands of Shane Morhouse and Louis M. Hart.He was starving to death,he was abandoned on the side of the road and duct taped.He was an innocent victim who did absolutely nothing to deserve this heinous crime.He died from cancer,but suffered greatly before he had to be put down.
This is an extremely urgent petition,as it it June 5th and the court hearing is scheduled for this Friday June 8th,please sign and share to all so I can deliver it by this Thursday June 7th,thank you on behalf of Chubby may his sweet soul rest in peace and these vile people pay for what they did to him.
We the petition signers want the maximum sentance of 2 years for Shane Morhoue and Louis M. Hart for these crimes against Chubby who suffered needlessly at their hands.Thank you for your time on this very importand animal abuse case.
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