CLEVELAND - Forrest the dog is recovering in his new adoptive home after being chained to a tree, shot twice and left for dead in a Cleveland Heights park in late November.
The man police said shot him, Raymone Clements, 42, made his first appearance in federal court on Thursday, pleading not guilty to one charge of being a felon with ammunition.
Clements is a violent felon, convicted of raping two girls in 2006.
According to the indictment, police found Clements with bullets when he was initially arrested for misdemeanor animal cruelty.
When Clements was federally indicted for being a felon with ammunition, which has a maximum 10 year prison sentence, the state dropped the misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.
"Something has got to be done to protect these animals because not every abuser is going to be a convicted felon with bullets in his pocket," said Patty Harris, who along with her partner, Robin Stone, adopted Forrest.
Animal advocates say this case brings attention to what they say are Ohio's weak animal cruelty laws.
In Ohio, animal cruelty is only a misdemeanor.
"What happens to the next 'Forrest' whose abuser is picked up and doesn't happen to be a convicted felon with bullets in his pocket. So he's going to face a $250 fine or a slap on the wrist," Harris said.
"We'll continue to speak for Forrest and be a presence and that's the best we can do and I am optimistic he will go to jail," Amy Beichler, the executive director of PAWS Ohio, said.
"We don't think Clements got justice for the two girls that he raped either so this all kind of goes as a combined victory for everybody so we are pleased with that," Stone said.
Clements has a detention hearing on Jan. 25.