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|Defense(s):||Leo J Talikka|
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Sunday, Apr 15, 2012County: Ashtabula
Alleged: Walter Pace
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
One step onto Steve and Linda Richards' 100-acre property and you can see who they've devoted their life to. Horses, pigs and turkeys call this part of Jefferson, Ohio home.
"You know, we don't have any kids. She (my wife) was a deputy humane agent when I met her. That's what I married," said Steve Richards. The animals on their farm are beloved pets.
Now, scattered throughout the property are little reminders that two of their pets are gone.
"A big empty feeling, I had dogs my whole life," said Linda Richards.
Linda Richards said her two dogs were playing outside Sunday. There was Bugle, a beagle puppy that she rescued four months ago.
"He'd come running, his tail would be wagging so hard his whole butt would shake," said Richards. She also had a 4-year-old Saint Bernard-mix named Violet. "She was the most friendly dog in the world. She was so happy to get a little brother, the beagle, when it showed up," she said.
Linda said the beagle chewed through Violet's collar Sunday and the two dogs started playing and running on the large property.
"They've always come back, they never even gone off the property," she said.
After looking for them for hours, Richards called the sheriff's office about two missing dogs.
"And they said two were shot," said Richards.
Richards went to identify her pets and ran into a witness. The woman said the dogs made it to a yard 2 miles away. She said the friendly pair started walking along the road when a man came out of his home with a gun and got into his car. The witness told deputies the man drove a short distance to where the dogs were walking.
"She heard shots and yelping, shots and yelping then she saw him go back in his driveway," said Richards.
Deputies investigated and Walter Pace was charged Thursday. The Richards said they don't know the man and their dogs were never on his property.
"We don't know what to do. We don't know how to feel. Nothing seems right," said Steve Richards.
Pace never returned my call for a comment. He's scheduled to be in court April 26 facing animal cruelty charges.
|An Ashtabula County man has placed himself in a firestorm after police say he hunted down and killed the dogs of a neighbor.|
Walter Pace was in court Monday morning, and the charges were upgraded from a misdemeanor level to level one. Stripping away the legal stuff, it means that Pace could face twice the amount of jail time he did earlier.
When he arrived at the Courthouse in Jefferson, Pace was met by animal rights protestors. There was no confrontation, but they are livid by reports that after the two dogs named Bugle and Violet wandered onto his property, he got a gun, drove off his property in a car and gunned them down.
The protestors are associated with a group called Nitro's Law. It began after several dogs, including Nitro, were starved to death in Youngstown. Reporter Paul Orlousky confronted Pace as he waited to go into court.
"Good morning, Mr. Pace, can we talk to you?" Orlousky asked.
"No." Tate replied.
"I just wonder what you're explanation is, the people outside are pretty upset with you," Orlousky said.
Pace pleaded not guilty and left court under a $25,000 unsecured bond.
The dogs owners, Steve and Linda Richards, were in court. They have all kinds of animals on their farm, but Violet and Bugle were the only two dogs.
Pace was identified as the shooter by another neighbor who saw him track down the dogs, heard shots, and then heard yelping followed by silence.
Update posted on May 21, 2012 - 9:44PM
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