Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Support of Forrest: Peaceful Protest Now Postponed (UPDATE)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 1:28 PM

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[UPDATE, 3:31 p.m.] A criminal indictment was filed today in U.S. District Court against Raymone Clements, charging him with being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Following the shooting late last year, Clements was found to be in possession of one round of .357-caliber ammo and two rounds of .22-caliber ammo. Past felony convictions include rape in 2006, drug trafficking in 2003 and aggravated robbery in 1991.

Cleveland Heights police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are seeking information on Clements' whereabouts. Call 216-321-1234 with relevant insight.

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[UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.] WEWS reports that the peaceful rally scheduled for Friday morning is canceled for now, following the rescheduling of Raymone Clements' arraignment. No new time or date has been publicized yet.

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Friday morning, a large group of animal rights activists and generally altruistic Clevelanders will gather outside the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court at 7:30 a.m.

They’re doing so because a man accused of shooting a dog twice last fall will be arraigned in that building at 8:30 a.m. His name is Raymone Clements. He goes by “Ramone” in some circles, “Merciless Sonofabitch” in others.

Clements is charged with having a gun after a felony conviction, following a 2003 drug trafficking case, and two misdemeanors: cruelty to animals and shooting where prohibited. (By the way, he was also convicted in 2006 for raping two girls, ages 7 and 14.)

Forrest, the mastiff at the heart of the story, was found chained to a tree in Cleveland Heights’ Forest Hill Park last November. He had been shot in his chest and jaw, though Clements had allegedly fired four bullets at the dog.

The case - and Friday’s arraignment - is only one element in a much broader problem with Ohio’s animal cruelty laws. Over the years, many have called for tighter restrictions and more intense punishments. A 2010 law advanced some such causes, but animal rights supporters are working to maintain pressure on the General Assembly’s rather milquetoast pulse.

Chapter 959 of the Ohio Revised Code delves into the specific policies and punishments surrounding cruelty to animals: To wit, shooting a dog (or otherwise injuring a “companion animal”) is a first-degree misdemeanor. Subsequent instances bump that designation up to fifth-degree felony status. Also: Killing a carrier pigeon is a minor misdemeanor.

To end this moroseful note with a bit of positivity, it was reported last week that Forrest was adopted by a family in Solon after having been under the care of the Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio.

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