Arno files motion to dismiss

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Jessie Eugene Arno, 35, 55931 Dilles Bottom Road, Shadyside, appeared Monday before Belmont Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato. Arno had filed a motion to dismiss on two counts of animal cruelty, a felony of the fifth degree occurring May 20, 2013.

Fregiato set a hearing for Oct. 15, adding that a hearing will be made in advance if possible.

This case marks Belmont County’s first felony animal abuse court proceeding. Charges stem from the death of two pit bulls and near-death of another in May, when the county humane officer discovered the dead dogs and the condition of the survivor.

Arno’s co-defendant, Becky Vittor, will face misdemeanour charges.

Arno was arrested in early September and is facing aggravated robbery, conspiracy, aggravated assault, and menacing charges.

Arno has a 2004 conviction for animal abuse. A prior conviction is necessary to bring felony counts of animal abuse against an individual.

DeFrank can be reached at