CLEVELAND-- The shooting of Forrest, a Bullmastiff, landed convicted felon Raymone Clements back in court; but in the end, it was the 42-year-old’s criminal past that got him a lengthy prison sentence.
The animal cruelty charge was dropped in favor of federal weapon charges, and on Monday a judge sentenced Clements to 275 months behind bars.
He was convicted in April of being a felon in possession of a weapon.
“Anyone who is on his 16th felony conviction absolutely belongs behind bars, especially for a firearms offense and the circumstances surrounding this offense specifically,” said Asst. U.S. District Attorney Kelly Galvin.
Clements told the judge he had nothing to do with the shooting of Forrest that happened in November at Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights.
The defendant told the judge he was turning his life around, loved animals, and would never hurt any dog. He called himself a victim in the case.
Outside the court, his girlfriend defended him saying he doesn’t deserve to be in prison for more than 20 years.
“People make mistakes every day,” said Shaquea Jackson. “Who don’t have a past, everybody ain’t innocent; everybody ain’t perfect; ain’t nobody Jesus.”
Forrest has since recovered and is in a new home.
“He’s fantastic. He really transitioned into home life,” said Robin Stone, who adopted Forrest. “He is very happy, and playful now. He seems more relaxed, he is just a joy.”
Animal rights activists, who have been watching this case, say they want to work to increase animal cruelty charges in Ohio.
“We need to reform state law so that an individual that takes a dog, ties it to a tree, and has the dog shot four times has to do some time. We have to increase that to a felony,” said Dennis Niermann, Board Chairman of the Public Animal Welfare Society.