Couple’s bonds go toward animals’ care in abuse case

LISBON – A Darner Road couple accused of 12 counts each of cruelty to animals were required to post $150 bonds each to help care for one of the animals they are accused of abusing.

Matthew Devereaux, 23, and Jennifer Grimmett, 29, appeared Thursday in Columbiana County Municipal Court.

They were ordered by Judge Carol Robb to cover the cost of impoundment for one of the dogs, the one named Kona, taken by the Columbiana County Humane Society.

While additional funds were sought for the other animals being cared for by the humane society, it was determined only impoundment costs could be obtained for companion animals reflected in the charges. The other 11 counts of cruelty of animals deal with horses, chickens and a rabbit.

Court documents accuse the couple of keeping several starving dogs inside a home and other dogs in a room in crates with urine- and feces-covered rags, molded food ground into the floor and no water.

Additionally, it was found there were several horses malnourished and filthy in stalls without water in a barn on the property. Eight of the counts of the charges deal with malnourished horses, while the other charges involved a goat, a rabbit and a chicken.

Dominic Frank, the defense attorney for Devereaux and Grimmett, requested the judge consider releasing those animals not reflected in the charges back to Grimmett and Devereaux.

Other animals not included in the charges which were found on the property and taken by humane agents included additional horses, two additional rabbits, a duck, three alpacas, two sheep and a cat.

No action was taken, although Robb did express concern about releasing them back to a home where it was uncertain they would be given proper sustenance.

Assistant County Prosecutor Megan Forsythe said she did not anticipate any additional charges involving the other animals. She assured Robb she would have veterinarian reports from humane agents soon and be able to provide them to Frank within the next two weeks. Frank indicated he may have to get an independent vet report also.

Pretrials were set for Devereaux and Grimmett on June 19.