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Published: Tuesday, 1/15/2013

Former dog pound worker acquitted of animal cruelty charge

Demonstrators demand man be held accountable for actions

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Attorney Jerry Phillips, left, in court with Aaron Nova, right,  the former Lucas County Dog Warden employee caught on videotape allegedly abusing a dog, in Toledo Municipal Court. Attorney Jerry Phillips, left, in court with Aaron Nova, right, the former Lucas County Dog Warden employee caught on videotape allegedly abusing a dog, in Toledo Municipal Court.
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The pound worker charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty has been acquitted.

Midway through the animal-cruelty trial for Aaron Nova in Toledo Municipal Court and before calling witnesses, defense attorney Jerome Phillips motioned that the prosecutor had not established that the defendant's actions met the elements of the offense for which he was charged.

Assistant Prosecutor Sharon Gaich had called two witnesses, Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle and Toledo Area Humane Society Cruelty Investigator Gene Boros.

Judge Timothy Kulhman read the statute Mr. Nova was charged under and then stated that he did not believe Mr. Nova's behavior rose to the level of animal cruelty, and granted Mr. Phillips request for dismissal.

*Video: Toledo attorney Jerry Phillips claims his client, Aaron Nova, acquitted today in Toledo Municipal Court of charges of animal cruelty, slammed a dog into a kennel at the county dog pound when he slipped on urine.

Mr. Nova was fired from the Lucas County Dog Warden after being charged Aug. 7 with misdemeanor animal cruelty after a video surfaced that showed him allegedly picking up a dog in a chokehold, slamming it against a kennel door, and throwing it into a kennel at the shelter.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Mr. Nova, of 2635 Moline-Martin Rd., Lake Township, had been employed for six years at the shelter.

Shortly before the start of today's trial for Mr. Nova, demonstrators stood outside Toledo Municipal Court asking that he be held accountable for his actions.

Four demonstrators, including Kimm Penn of Toledo and her 145-pound Irish wolfhound, held signs calling on the court to prosecute Mr. Nova to the fullest extent of the law.

The dog, named Finnegan, was wearing a sign that said, "Try choking this guy and throwing him Mr. Nova. We love our pets."

Contact Tanya Irwin at tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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