Owner of severely emaciated dog left chained to a tree receives little more than slap on the wrist

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In the community of Vincent, Ohio, the owner of a severely emaciated dog that had been left chained to a tree, received a two-week jail sentence on Thursday as he stood in front of Judge Mark Kerenyi at the Washington County Common Pleas Court. John Clark Nelson III, 43, pleaded guilty to companion animal cruelty, a fifth-degree felony on April 14.

According to the Marietta Times, the starving dog had chewed his chain trying to get free, and while struggling had cracked his molars causing painful open nerves along the animal’s gum line. When discovered in December 2016, the dog had no food or water. When examined by a veterinarian, the black Labrador retriever and pit bull mix was also found to be severely dehydrated, 15-pounds underweight and infected with worms, fleas and skin infections.

Nelson surrendered the dog who has since been adopted. Nelson could have received a six-month sentence in the county jail, however according to Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings, the dog has since been adopted and didn’t suffer any permanent harm. In addition, Nelson had no prior criminal record.

“That’s disgusting, it’s absolutely disgusting,” stated Washington County Dog Warden Kelly McGilton, after Nelson’s sentencing. “This is where we fail as a society. There need to be laws prohibiting those who commit animal cruelty from ever owning any more animals, and I hate that he only got two weeks in jail; that’s not enough. Send a message to these people that we’re not messing around.”

In addition to the 15 days in the Washington County Jail, he will receive one day’s credit for time served. Nelson will also be on probation for two years and has been ordered to pay approximately $500 in restitution for the dog’s veterinarian bills and care.

According to McGilton, the dog will still need additional dental surgery. On the brighter side, he is described as “happy and healthy” now.

(Photos of chained dog via the Washington County Dog Warden)

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15 replies
  1. Angela Corso says:

    Judges are becoming the problem in making offenders afraid to commit abuse crimes. THIS MAN SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED MORE OF A PUNISHMENT THAN HE DID!!!! I am happy that the dog has recovered. 🙂

  2. Cynthia Como says:

    Ok this is why I am over the top outraged! We animal advocates work and work and work damn hard for these better laws and STILL end up with little to no punishment for the horrible crime of animal cruelty! I swear I think THE ONLY REASON that animal cruelty was ever made illegal is so the courts can make money with the fines!! This judge has the ability to impose up to five years for this!!!! This law was pushed thu by a well known weather man here named Dick Goddard. He is a HUGE animal advocate,that’s why the law is called Goddards law! But unfortunately it seems to not changed the punhment or should so I say lack of punishment!! I don’t understand what these judges find so freaking OFFENSIVE about punishing these cruel evil animal abusers!! SO INSANE AND SO IMMORAL!!!

  3. Barkley's Mom says:

    I’m not surprised, at least he was made to pay some of the vet bills for the dog he neglected. I thought Ohio’s laws were supposed to be stricter!

  4. resqdogz says:

    ” …according to Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings, the dog has since been adopted and didn’t suffer any permanent harm. In addition, Nelson had no prior criminal record.”

    So, then, extrapolating that faux-logic to other instances… a women who is brutally raped and beaten who SURVIVES, can expect – what – a slap on the hand, for her rapist, too??? Or someone – say, a priest – who molests a child that survives, should get a suspended sentence??

    FUK THAT – and “Prosecutor” Kevin Rings, as well as “Judge” Mark Kerenyi: What a pair of spineless, castrated bastards!

  5. Star Shelley (@shelleystar2) says:

    Shame on you Mr. MARK KERENYI, only 2 years , what the hell, so this guy had no prior criminal charges. Well you know it’s because it just the beginning for this irresponsible idiot. Just a matter of time. Jugde you fail the systen, society and yourself.

  6. Nancy Raymond says:

    TWO WEEKS – What the hell is wrong with that? EVERYTHING is wrong with that – another slap on the hand for animal cruelty – Prosecutor Kevin Rings proved himself a spineless idiot along with the so called judge. Because John Clark Nelson had no criminal record he was treated like he deserved a friggin’ medal – He deserves a criminal record because he is one. I am glad This poor mistreated dog was saved and adopted – Kevin Rings SHOULD be sitting in jail and I hope somewhere down the line a good dose of street justice is in his future.

  7. Diana Bradshaw says:


  8. pennysdachshunds says:

    unfortunately : The JUDGE and the Proscecutor Don’t have Testicles to begin with!! Both should the Professions they chose AS THEY ARE TOTALY WORTHLESS… THEY NEED to go become PIMPS on the street!!!

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      And this is in OHIO where Goddard’s Law (House Bill 60) making it a fifth degree felony to knowingly cause serious harm to a companion animal is supposed to be making punishments harsher. I’m baffled!

  9. Elaine says:

    What a joke. That judge should be removed from the bench . Hes obviously not doing his job. If a judge can’t teach these monsters a lesson then who will. Utterly a waste of skin and air sits on that bench and needs to retire

  10. Diana Rowell says:

    These derelict judges ought to be removed from the bench and sentenced for their abstract cruelty to future animals that come in contact with a KNOWN abuser. A person who STEALS music or movie gets 10 F*****G years MINIMUM. Then this spineless, ass wipe of a judge gave him 2 weeks?!?! I pray the WRATH of God finds this Judge Mark Kerenyi with a beating that leaves Kerenyi BLIND and CRIPPLE for LIFE as he’s sadistic, barbaric sympathizer of cruelty. Mark Kerenyi is PROBABLY and abusive son of a bitch and doesn’t want to harm a fellow abuser. POS! The people of this community ought to be up in arms and marching at the offices of this bastard and run petitions to get Kerenyi REMOVED for dereliction of duty. Use your power folks, we outnumbered these bureaucrats by 1000 to 1, let’s take him down!


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