Abandoned animals case to go to trial

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A trial date has been set in the case of a woman accused of abandoning about two dozen companion animals when she moved out of a Barton residence five years ago.

Meanwhile, a local humane agent will inspect any animals living with the defendant now.

Charges stem from a discovery at the former house of Christine Edgar. A cleaning crew sent to work at the house at 70629 Main St., Barton reportedly found the remains of numerous cats and rabbits.

Edgar, now of 3641 Ohio 152, Dillonvale faces three counts of abandoning animals and three counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals.

Julie Larish, humane agent with the organization Belmont County Hoof & Paw, said because the remains were skeletal, the causes of death could not definitively be determined and Edgar could not be charged with deliberately abandoning the animals to starvation and dehydration.

“We’ve submitted all the evidence and we’ve submitted all the pictures, so right now it’s really in the prosecutor’s hands,” Larish said.

Early last month Edgar’s attorney, Adam Myser, said he intended to challenge the statute of limitations.

On Wednesday, Belmont County Northern Division Judge Chris Berhalter noted the challenge was not timely filed.

“On Feb. 8 we set deadlines for any and all motions to be filed with this court,” he said, adding that motions were to be filed by Feb. 24. An attorney noted the challenge was filed March 15. “Based on the motion not being timely filed, it is overruled.”

The trial date was set for June 9, with a review May 17.

In other matters, Berhalter revised an earlier order to inspect animals living with Edgar. He had ordered the Belmont County Dog Warden to conduct the inspections, but Assistant Prosecutor Chris Gagin said Larish is familiar with the case.

Myser said there are dogs living at the premises, but they do not belong to Edgar.

“The Hoof & Paw agency is to undertake an inspection of the defendant’s premises,” Berhalter said. “And verify any and all animals that are present in that residence are being cared for properly.”

Afterward, Larish said she would arrange a visit.

“My understanding is they don’t belong to her, but I have to view them because she still does have some care of those,” she said. “The dog warden has no knowledge of this case, so that’s why we had to change it today to have Hoof & Paw go back in.”


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