The new owner of a dog that was shot and left for dead in a Cleveland Heights park called news that his alleged shooter faces a federal charge "bittersweet."
Ramone Clements was charged in December with shooting the dog, now adopted and named Forrest, in the face and shoulder at Forest Hill Park. During the police investigation, authorities say they found one round of .357-caliber ammunition and two rounds of .22-caliber ammunition in his home.
The ammunition charge carries a greater sentence if Clements is convicted, but the animal cruelty charge, as well as two other firearms charges, were dropped by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.
"I feel that Forrest really handed [Clements] to them on a silver platter and now he’s not even a part of it," Robin Stone, who adopted the dog last week, said Wednesday afternoon.
"The part of it that is absolutely the worst part of the crime, which is shooting an animal, is dropped, but he’s going to go away for having bullets?" Stone said.
Animal cruelty is a second-degree misdemeanor in Ohio and carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail.
"If animal cruelty were a felony in Ohio, we wouldn't need the ammunitions charge," said Stone.
Clements was also charged with misdemeanor firing a gun within city limits and felony having weapons under disability.
All told, he would have faced a maximum jail sentence of five years, seven and a half months if convicted on those three counts.
A U.S. District Attorney spokesperson said that the indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury this morning. Authorities were searching for Clements Wednesday afternoon, and once he is arrested, his arraignment will be scheduled.
Stone, who is participating in an effort by animal rights organizations to elevate Forrest's case and garner support for making animal cruelty a felony in Ohio, said that PAWS and other organizations will still demonstrate an hour before Clements' arraignment.