Couple sentenced for animal cruelty

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — A Wilmington couple is not allowed to have pets and they were fined, must pay restitution and are on probation after being found guilty of animal cruelty in Clinton County Municipal Court.

Robert Young, 32, and Reba Young, 30, pleaded guilty and were sentenced Oct. 16 for an incident on Sept. 11, when police were called to assist the Clinton County dog warden on an animal welfare check at their residence.

Municipal Court Judge Mike Daugherty also prohibited the two from owning any pets, and the dog warden was ordered to seize any that they might have.

They were fined $1,500 in total and ordered to pay $135 each in court costs and $535.69 in restitution to Clinton Animal Care.

On Oct. 18, after a sentencing review, the rest of the couple’s 180-day jail time was suspended, but they must commit no further offenses for two years and must take part in non-reporting probation. Any current pets would be removed by the dog warden, and the dog warden may investigate their residence as often as deemed necessary.

According to the Wilmington Police Department report, Clinton County dog warden Rex Doak had been there the previous week where he saw the dogs living in a kennel without proper shelter, wholesome food or water. Doak had told the Youngs that two of the dogs appeared to not be allowing the third one to eat, as it was “just skin and bones.”

Doak advised Gibson that he advised the couple take the dog to the veterinarian but they never did. Police saw the dog in the kennel and it was “barely moving,” according to the report. Robert Young admitted to not making an appointment for the dog, saying the two had been “working a lot” and had forgotten to take the dog to the vet.

Gibson told them since the dog’s condition appeared to be “grave,” they needed to take the dog immediately to the vet. Reba Young agreed to take it and was followed by Gibson to Clinton Animal Care.

The dog was found to be anemic, malnourished and with a skin infection. The Great Dane weighed only 24.1 pounds when the average weight for a one-year-old Great Dane is over 100 pounds. She was also dehydrated and suffered from a “fatal infestation of hookworms.”

Luna was looked after through the night and given an IV by Dr. Daphne Reeves. They attempted to give her food and water but Luna refused. They advised the only way Luna would survive is if they gave her a blood transfusion, but that may not have been enough still.

On Sept. 12, Reeves informed Gibson that Luna’s health rapidly declined and the dog had be euthanized.

“Reeves advised that Luna died from a parasite infection that could have been easily prevented by an over-the-counter de-wormer,” the report states.

By John Hamilton