Boswell man sentenced for abandoning two dogs in crates for months
A 42-year-old Boswell man who abandoned two dogs in cages without food and water for months in a Jenner Township house, resulting in their death, was sentenced Thursday to 60 months of probation.
After a plea arrangement, Mark David Paxton pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, on Nov. 10. Paxton agreed to plead guilty to the one charge. The Somerset County District Attorney Offices then requested that the judge accept its proposed dismissal of the remaining animal cruelty offenses — cruelty to animals and neglect of animals, two counts each. There was another aggravated cruelty of animals charge, one for each dog. The judge granted the request.
Paxton is required to wear an electronic monitor for six months as a restrictive condition of his probation and pay a $400 fine.
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The Boswell native did not speak at his sentencing, but his defense attorney did.
"Mr. Paxton feels horrible about it," said Somerset attorney David Leake. He said Paxton was having a mental crisis at the the time of the incident. Leake discussed the circumstances around the incident in court at the sentencing. He said his client, married for 11 years with three children, was in the midst of a divorce and the dogs were kept in the marital residence.
"He was in a deep depression and simply emotionally could not return to the house (to care for the dogs)," Leake said.
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According to a probable-cause affidavit, Seth Deyulis entered the residence on Ralphton Road to change the locks on the doors for the bank on Oct. 18. Cpl. Norman Klahre wrote that Deyulis found the dogs "dead and still locked in their cages," so he immediately called 911.
The neighbors told police that Paxton, the former owner of the house, had moved out about two years before, state police said.
Paxton did return to the house to take care of the dogs and collect his mail, they said. A couple of months before the incident, however, he stopped coming, according to the affidavit.
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The summary offenses charged in the case involving a failure to notify the state Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of an address change on his registration card and identification card were also dismissed as part of the plea arrangement.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: The abandoned family dogs died in crates, the owner got probation