A 42-year-old man from Boswell was sentenced to 60 months of probation Thursday for leaving two dogs in cages without food or water in a Jenner Township house for months. The dogs died as a result.
Mark David Paxton pleaded guilty on Nov. 10 to one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a third-degree felony. This was part of a deal. Paxton agreed to plead guilty to the single charge.
The Somerset County District Attorney’s Office then asked the judge to accept its plan to drop the remaining animal cruelty charges, which included two counts each of cruelty to animals and neglect of animals. There was another charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, and each dog had its own charge. The judge said that it was okay.
As a strict part of his probation, Paxton has to wear an electronic monitor for six months and pay a $400 fine. The man from Boswell didn’t say anything at his sentencing, but his lawyer did.
“It makes Mr. Paxton feel terrible,” said David Leake, an attorney in Somerset. He said that Paxton was having a mental breakdown when the incident happened. Leake talked about what happened in court when he was being sentenced.
He said that his client, who had been married for 11 years and had three kids, was in the middle of getting a divorce and that the dogs were kept in the house where they lived together.
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Dogs Were Dead and Still in Their Cages When a Man Found Them
Leake said, “He was in a deep depression, and he just couldn’t bring himself to go back to the house to care for the dogs.”
A probable-cause affidavit says that Seth Deyulis went to the Ralphton Road home on Oct. 18 to change the locks on the doors for the bank. Cpl. Norman Klahre wrote that Deyulis found the dogs “dead and still locked in their cages,” so he called 911 right away.
State police said that the neighbors told them that Paxton had moved out of the house about two years ago. People said that Paxton did go back to the house to take care of the dogs and get his mail. The affidavit says that he stopped coming a few months before the incident, though.
As part of the plea deal, the summary offenses for which he was charged for not telling the state Department of Motor Vehicles about a change of address on his registration card and ID card within 15 days were also dropped.
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