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Pair charged in dog abuse case appear in City Court, further proceedings pending

By Howard B. Owens

Two people accused of abusing a pair of dogs, including one who eventually died, made their City Court appearances today after missing similar appearances in June.

Both Andrew A. Searight, 35, and Jerrtonia A. Scarbrough, 24, are charged with two counts each of felony aggravated cruelty to animals.

They are accused of abandoning two pitbulls in apartment 60 at 337 Bank St., Batavia. The two animals were found malnourished and covered in feces in their cages inside the apartment on May 10, according to witness statements.

Searight was first on the docket in City Court on Wednesday afternoon.  He entered a not-guilty plea and City Court Judge Durin Rogers bound his case over for Grand Jury review.  If indicted, his next appearance will be in County Court at a date yet to be determined.  

Scarbrough also entered a not-guilty plea and Rogers ordered her released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.  He said Scarbrough couldn't leave the county, which raised an objection from her attorney, Jamie Walsh, with the Public Defenders Office, who informed Rogers that Scarbrough frequently stays with her mother in Niagraga County and that Scarbrough has a five-year-old child who attends a public elementary school there.

Rogers wasn't swayed.  He said if Scarbrough wanted to leave the county, she could seek permission from Genesee Justice or return to the court for permission.

The conditions and supervision were necessary, Rogers said, because of Scarbrough's previous failures to appear in court when ordered, her prior offense, and a warrant for an apparent failure to appear, out of Niagara County, along with the severity of the charges.

Scarbrough faces an obstruction of governmental administration charge in Niagara County. 

The charges against Searight and Scarbrough stem from the discovery of two pitbulls in an apartment the pair had reportedly shared. Both dogs had been left in cages and were starving, and covered in feces, when animal control officers arrived at the apartment after a neighbor called authorities.  The male pitbull has recovered while the female pitbull had to be euthanized. 


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