Man charged with animal abuse waives preliminary hearing

A Pennsylvania man charged with cruelty to animals following the discovery of eight dead dogs left in his care waived his preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and instead will have a formal hearing Jan. 30. 

Ryan Howard, 49, of Canton, was arrested Dec. 28 for felony-aggravated cruelty to an animal, cruelty to animals and neglect of animals, and is currently being held at the Bradford County Correctional Facility on $100,000 bail. 

According to a copy of the criminal complaint, Pennsylvania State Police were summoned to a home on Route 414 after receiving a report of animal cruelty. Upon arriving at the house the responding trooper met with Thomas Shores, the complainant, and discovered eight dead Jack Russell terriers, some of whom were huddled together, emaciated with black tongues, while two others remained confined to a crate. Four dogs were discovered to have survived the ordeal, and according to the complaint will require veterinary care. 

Shores told police that he asked Howard to watch his dogs on Dec. 17 after being rushed to the hospital with medical issues, and showed police the text messages verifying the agreement. 

After the discovery and meeting with Shores, police interviewed Howard on Dec. 28 at his home. According to the complaint, Howard told police that he had agreed to feed Shores’ dogs and that he had done so every day and that the dogs were alive the last time he saw them the previous day. 

Upon further questioning Howard stated that he brought his own food for the dogs in lieu of feeding them the food present at the home, and that he might have missed a day of feeding them. Howard added that if something had happened to the dogs he was willing to pay a fine. Police then took him into custody. 

According to Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox, Howard’s Jan. 30 hearing will be held at the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas in Towanda. 

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