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|Judge(s):|| Ronald Haggerty Jr| CONVICTED: Was justice served?
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Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011County: Fayette
Disposition: Civil penalty imposed
Defendant/Suspect: Anthony Dwayne French
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A Connellsville man, jailed on charges that he allegedly fondled a 12-year-old boy, is the subject of another police investigation that will likely lead to animal cruelty charges.
Anthony French, 45, of 216 W. Austin Ave., allegedly fondled a 12-year-old boy at Falcon Stadium after the high school football game Friday night. He is already a 10-year Megan's Law registrant. "
When police served a warrant at his home Tuesday for the Sept. 16 incident, an officer gained access and found dozens of animals housed in deplorable conditions.
"The officer contacted Tom (Currey, health officer). He requested the assistance of police. Two officers and Tom inspected the home in bio-suits because of the amount of animal feces and urine inside. They found 15 to 20 dogs in cages in deplorable conditions. Some of the cages were too small for the dogs. All were in very bad shape. Mice were in a cage, snakes were in an aquarium and rats were in a cage. Birds were also in the house, not exotic birds, but pigeons. Several more dogs were tied up outside. They weren't in as bad shape as the dogs inside," said Connellsville police Chief James Capitos.
"Animal hoarding is something I see on TV, I haven't seen it in Connellsville," Capitos said.
The SPCA arrived and removed all the animals from the home, which Anthony French shares with his mother, Eileen French, 67, listed as the owner on the Fayette County Assessment Office website.
Police are working with the SPCA before filing animal cruelty charges. Capitos said some of the dogs had to be euthanized because of their poor health.
"These are serious offenses. Cruelty to animals charges will be filed. There might be up to 40. We still have to get more information from the SPCA. The charges may be filed against both," Capitos said.
The investigation will take several days. Capitos did not anticipate filing charges until at least next week.
Currey placarded the home as unfit for human habitation. Capitos said he did not know where Eileen French was staying.
Anthony French is in Fayette County Jail in lieu of $10,000 straight cash bail on the charges of indecent assault to a minor younger than 13 years old, unlawful contact with a minor and harassment for the Sept. 16 incident at the stadium. "This case is pending. He's innocent until proven guilty," Capitos said. French faces a preliminary hearing before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. at 1 p.m. Sept. 29.
In 2003, Andrew French pleaded guilty in Fayette County court to unlawful contact or communication with a minor. He received five years of probation and has to keep his information updated on the Megan's Law registry for 10 years.
|A jailed Connellsville man changed his plea to guilty in a case of 49 counts of animal cruelty.|
Police filed the non-traffic summary citations against Anthony French on Oct. 4.
French, 45, faced a summary trial before District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. on Wednesday and asked to plead guilty.
French is in Fayette County Jail on charges of indecent assault to someone less than 13 years of age, unlawful contact with a minor and harassment following an incident on Sept. 20 at Falcon Stadium. He has not been able to post $10,000 bail.
He told Haggerty that he did not understand "what I was signing in jail" when he signed paperwork pleading not guilty.
"I want to know if I can pay it in payments," he said.
Haggerty allowed French to plead guilty. The judge reduced the number of charges down to one count for each animal, for a total of 24.
Connellsville police Patrol Officer Autumn Fike had written two citations for individual animals if they lacked both sanitary water and sanitary shelter.
Fike said French should pay $1,330 restitution to a subcontractor who took birds, snakes and rats and is caring for them before they can be adopted.
Fike also requested that Haggerty rule that French can never own another animal. Haggerty said a district judge does not have such authority.
French's total fines were set at $1,502.50.
He was unable to post collateral and returned to jail.
Police charged French after they found scores of animals living in appalling conditions at his Austin Avenue residence while they served a warrant on the assault charges.
According to the non-traffic citations, French reportedly failed to provide a clean and sanitary shelter and water for 16 dogs, including a cockapoo, a Jack Russell terrier, a heeler, a bull terrier mix, two Chihuahuas, a terrier, a spaniel, a spaniel mix, a Labrador retriever mix, a black Labrador retriever, a boxer mix and a collie-spaniel mix.
Other species included three corn snakes in a moldy cage with green water; two iguanas; seven adult rats and six baby rats; two gray cockatiels; one green parakeet; five white doves; two finches; and two lovebirds.
The SPCA arrived and removed all of the animals from the home. Health, code and zoning officer Tom Currey placarded the home as unfit for human habitation.
Some of the dogs had to be euthanized because of poor health. The rest were placed for adoption at the SPCA.
Fike said many of the dogs were "emaciated and dehydrated. Their coats were coated in fecal matter. The floors were inches thick in fecal matter. There were bugs and worms. Water was green. The house smelled appalling."
Officials had to wear biohazard suits to enter the house and remove the animals.
|Source: pittsburghlive.com - Dec 1, 2011|
Update posted on Dec 1, 2011 - 11:12AM
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