WASHINGTON CH — A Washington Court House man has changed his plea from “no contest” to “not guilty” in an ongoing animal cruelty case.
Fayette Regional Humane Society (FRHS) humane agents visited a Washington Court House home on July 23 and reportedly found an underweight dog with significant hair loss, sores and flaky skin. The 9-year-old Pit Bull/Lab mix dog that was also infested with fleas, was surrendered to humane agents. The dog, named “Hershey,” was transported to the humane society’s clinic where he tested for hookworms and weighed only 32 pounds.
Ernest R. Vorhees, 35, Washington C.H., was charged with two second degree misdemeanor charges of “prohibitions concerning companion animals.” Vorhees pleaded “no contest” at his Aug. 14 arraignment where a sentencing hearing was scheduled for Aug. 21.
Vorhees then requested a court-appointed attorney for that hearing to represent him, so the sentencing hearing was rescheduled for Sept. 12. Vorhees changed his plea from “no contest” to a plea of “not guilty.” A pretrial hearing will now be scheduled.
“I find it interesting that Mr. Vorhees pleaded ‘no contest’ at his arraignment but then changed it to ‘not guilty’ at his sentencing,” said Brad Adams, chief humane agent. “As always we are prepared to present our evidence at future hearings.”
Hershey gained nearly 13 pounds after a week and a half in FRHS care. Hershey has since been adopted into a new home.
“The dog’s condition didn’t happen overnight and we have helped Mr. Vorhees in the past to resolve similar issues at no charge through our clinic. We have educated him on how to properly care for his dog. He knows our phone number. He knows where we are located to ask for help but he didn’t. There is no excuse for this,” said Adams
The Fayette Regional Humane Society is a non-profit (501(c)(3), volunteer organization. It receives less than 2% of their support from governmental organizations and therefore must rely on donations, grants and fundraising to carry out their mission. Its website is www.fayettehumanesociety.com .