For those of you who do not know the story about Forrest the dog who was shot twice and left chained to a tree to die in Cleveland Heights (or if you just need a refresher), the story on cleveland.com can be found here. On November 25, 2012, the mastiff was shot at four times, but he was only hit twice, once in the jaw and once in the shoulder. He was emaciated, had bite wounds on his face and ear, and he was found in shock. Somehow, he survived this horrible torture, and he was lucky enough to be found by a dog walker and five dogs that she was walking. According to the cleveland.com article by Donna J. Miller, the dog who was eventually named Forrest was taken to The Family Pet Clinic, underwent surgery, then was sent to the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, where he was placed into foster care.
After plenty of searching by police and requesting information from the public, a woman finally came forward. She explained to the police that she was the one who had given Forrest the mastiff to Raymone "Ramone" Clements, then two days later watched him tie the dog to the tree and shoot him. According to cleveland.com's article about the case, the dog had originally belonged to the woman's father, but he had given him to her.
As is the case with many animal abuse cases, Clements had prior convictions for drug trafficking and raping two young girls. The felony gun charge he has just recently been indicted with for the Forrest case was based on the drug trafficking charge, not the rape charges.
Clement's arraignment will be held January 18.
Animal activists are hoping that this case can be added to the list of animal cruelty cases to show Ohio Senate that animal abuse should be made a felony. Had there not been a gun charge involved in Clements' recent case, he would have only faced a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. For torturing an animal, causing him massive amounts of pain, and leaving him to potentially die a terrible and slow death, he would have only been in jail three months at the most.
Studies show that animal abuse cases are linked to human violence, and that more violent criminals would have been put away sooner had they had harsher penalties for their violent cruelty to animals. According to the Humane Society regarding animal cruelty's relationship to human violence, "Of those arrested for animal crimes, 65% had been arrested for battery against another person." This animal cruelty is even related to school shootings, says the Humane Society. "And of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty."
Donations have been sent in for Forrest's care, and hopefully more awareness will be raised, even though the House bills in the Ohio Senate related to increasing the penalty of animal abuse convictions were allowed to die. Donations can be placed for Forrest, and to help support the amazing shelter who is loving Forrest and giving him a second chance, on PAWS Ohio's website.