A Chester dog owner accused of torture last year against 116 Doberman dogs, including 40 puppies, received 90 days of probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor animal cruelty concerning 15 dogs in the case.
But the fate of 101 other dogs involved in the case remains unclear. Prosecutors are expected to argue during more court hearings Wednesday in an effort to bar the owner from getting the dogs back.
Jordan Johnson, 48, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of neglect and animal cruelty toward the 15 dogs late Monday. He was sentenced to probation in a hearing with Circuit Court Judge Casey Manning, prosecutors and his lawyer said.
“Probation was a good and proper resolution,” said 6th Circuit Deputy Public Defender William Frick.
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But prosecutors want to keep Johnson from getting back the remaining dogs that have been fostered out to families around the country. Johnson had to relinquish any claim to the 15 dogs involved when he pleaded no contest, said Candice Lively, 6th Circuit Deputy Solicitor.
“Based on the conditions those dogs were in when they were seized, and the defendant’s conduct toward the dogs, it is the state’s position he should not get these remaining dogs back,” said Lively. “The state’s concern is where these dogs end up.”
Johnson’s lawyer is expected to argue that Johnson deserves custody of the animals.
“Our position is that he should get those dogs back,” Frick said.
Johnson was charged in September with leaving 116 dogs outside his rural Chester County home in what police described as deplorable conditions.
Dogs were taken in by people from across the country who were outraged.
Johnson initially faced 198 felony charges, including 116 counts of ill treatment of animals by torture for each dog, and more than 80 counts of failing to have rabies vaccination of the animals and letting dogs run loose.
Johnson remained in the Chester County jail Wednesday, where he has been for months. He was given a bond of more than $400,000 because each dog charge had a $3,000 bond.
Johnson still faces the charges of failing to vaccinate the dogs in magistrate court, Frick said. Wednesday afternoon, a magistrate judge is expected to hear the rabies vaccination cases.