Animal cruelty charges filed against owner in 2016 death of pet dog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 08:38

A Scottsburg man’s reported efforts to end the life of a pet poodle in December, 2016, resulted in a trip for him to Scott Circuit Court.

Richard O. Ledford, 55, appeared before Judge Jason Mount on Monday afternoon, June 5, to answer to two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to an animal.

Detective Jeremy Arnold recounted the incident leading to the case in his probable cause affidavit filed on June 1. He stated that he was off duty and driving on North Main Street Road, approaching the Stucker Ditch bridge on December 22, 2016. He said he saw a red Jeep parked near the bridge in a small pull-off with its headlights on. As he passed, he said he saw a man “…violently striking something with an object…” He decided to investigate and, as he was turning around, he said the Jeep pulled out and headed south. He followed the Jeep and “ran” the license plate to learn to whom it was registered. The plate information came back with Ledford’s name.

Once he got the registration information, Det. Arnold said he returned to the pull-off and discovered the bloody body of a small poodle wearing a gray-and-blue hooded sweatshirt. He called for assistance, and Deputies James Shelton and Jac Sanders came to the scene. Det. Arnold and Deputy Shelton went to Ledford’s home while Deputy Sanders remained at the scene.

When they arrived at the house, Det. Arnold said the red Jeep was parked in the driveway. A hammer covered with a blood-stained T-shirt was found.

Ledford and a female answered the door. Ledford stepped outside with the officers to talk to them.   He reportedly told them the dog was old and had medical problems and that he decided to “…put it down…” He allegedly remarked that he “…hit the dog in the head with a hammer like they did on the farm in the old days.” When they went inside the couple’s home, Det. Arnold said the couple became emotional when talking about the dog. The woman said she had planned to take the dog to a vet, but that the animal had become so ill, they decided instead to “…put it down.” Ledford had not told the woman how he planned to do that, he related.

The dog’s body was collected by the officers and sent to Purdue University for a forensic necropsy to be performed. The pet reportedly died as the result of blunt trauma to the head.

Judge Mount entered a preliminary plea of not guilty in the case for Ledford and set a bench trial for August 8.

Though bail was set at $5,000 by corporate surety bond or $500 cash, the defendant was allowed release on his own recognizance pending that date.