A Greene County man pleaded guilty in Washington County Sessions Court to animal cruelty in a case that involved 12 dogs left in a car while he and his wife rushed to her brother’s side at a local hospital.
The plea agreement allowed the case against the man’s wife to be dismissed.
Anthony Messer, 63 and Pamela Messer, 62, were each charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty after an animal control officer was called to investigate 12 puppies in their car on a July afternoon.
Pamela Messer said at the time she was distraught after receiving news her brother was gravely ill and in the hospital. They were at a local flea market when she received the call, she said. Messer rushed to her brother’s side, but said she and her husband forgot about the dogs in the car.
Messer also thought they were inside the hospital about 10 minutes, but authorities said it was about 30 minutes.
Anthony Messer was sentenced to 11 months 29 days on probation and must pay a $50 fine.
The Messerses’ attorney, T. Wood Smith, said after the hearing that the dogs were fine and it was just poor judgment on his clients part.
“It was a mistake,” Smith said. “The dogs are fine. It was a very fair resolution under the circumstances.”
When Messer and her husband returned to their car the day of the incident, a police officer was there and had the puppies out of the car. She said the puppies were on the hot pavement so she put them back in the car and turned on the air conditioner.
The puppies were taken from the Messers while the case was pending.