The man accused of tying a dog to a tree in Cleveland Heights Nov. 25, then shooting the dog, leaving him for dead, is scheduled to face a judge Friday.
The only good news about this story is that dog walker Dee Shedlow found the mastiff dog -- now named Forest -- early Nov. 26 and the PAWS Ohio rescue group took care of him.
Forest was emaciated, weighing only 70 pounds. Forest, now recovered, is now living in a loving home in Solon and is described as a "gentle giant."
While I am appalled by cruelty against anyone, especially children and the elderly, there should be a special place in the afterlife for someone who abuses animals, especially dogs.
Know that Ramone F. Clements, 42, of Cleveland, has been charged with animal cruelty, discharging a weapon in city limits and having weapons under disability.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Friday. If convicted on all counts, Clements faces 5 years and 7 and a half months in prison.
Clements is a convicted felon and is not permitted to have a weapon. THAT is the only way they managed to charge him with a felony.
More on that later but know that supporters of Nitro's Law (HB 108) that "died" in the legislature on Dec. 31 are said to be planning to demonstrate outside Clements' arraignment Friday at the Justice Center.
Here is what you need to know about Clements.
He has five aliases and began his criminal career at the age of 18, being convicted of receiving stolen property. He failed to show for his first court appearance back in 1988 and was arrested on a warrant.
That was so long ago that the common pleas judge in the case was Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who later went on to be the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, then our 11th District Congresswoman from 1999 until Aug. 20, 2008, when she died of a brain aneurysm.
But back to Clements.
You need to go to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court website and look him up. Just Google it. Use the name Ramone F. Clements and take a look at the 17 -- yes, seventeen -- cases he has been involved in.
His last prison term, after he pleaded guilty in 2006 to rape against victims who were under 13, was five years. He left prison in 2011. In that case, the prosecutor was Pinkey S. Carr, the same prosecutor involved in the Anthony Sowell trial who is now a Cleveland Municipal Court judge.
(As an aside, I see a lot of positive comparisons between Tubbs Jones and Carr.)
Now here's the second point of this blog.
PAWS Ohio Executive Director Amy Beichler says that we need to change Ohio laws about cruelty to animals.
I noticed that the Ohio law 959.13 about cruelty to animals went into effect Jan. 17, 1977. That law will be 35 years old this Thursday, the day before Clements is scheduled for court.
Beichler has reached out, saying that it's important for Ohioans to recognize that seven companion animal bills languished in the 129th General Assembly.
All of these bills dealt with companion animal cruelty -- three of which recommended prosecution of criminal offenses as a felony of the fifth degree -- in one form or another.
New laws need to be passed in the 130th General Assembly. So if you are appalled by the story of Forest, then do something by contacting your state legislator.
Here are the bills that weren't passed, according to Beichler.
- Ohio Dog Auctions Act (would have banned Ohio 'puppy mill' dog auctions
- HB 25 (would ...have included companion animals in domestic violence/stalking protection orders)
- HB 108-Nitro's Law (would have provided discretion in prosecuting kennel owners, managers and employees who knowingly committed an act of animal cruelty as a felony of the fifth degree)
- HB 138 (would have required a person to file proof of successful completion of training with the county recorder prior to being appointed as a humane society agent)
- HB 289 (would have made bestiality a felony of the fifth degree)
- HB 290 (would have made an assault against a dog warden, deputy dog warden, humane agent, or animal control officer a felony of the fifth degree)
- HB 300 (would have provided protections for search and rescue dogs)