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Man gets probation in cruelty case

May 14, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man who was found guilty in March of an animal cruelty charge avoided jail time Wednesday when he was sentenced in Washington County District Court.

David Carl Sharrah, 52, of 424 N. Locust St., Apt. 5, was ordered by Judge Frederick Bower to serve 40 days in prison, which he suspended, to serve one year of unsupervised probation and to pay $57.50 in court costs, according to court records.

Bower, sitting in Washington County District Court, also said Sharrah is not to possess any animals.

Sharrah pleaded not guilty in March to a charge of "animal cruelty: inflict" but Judge Ralph France, sitting in Washington County District Court, found Sharrah guilty, court records state.

The case involves a call the Hagerstown Police Department received Dec. 7, 2008, at 9:15 p.m. from a woman who had found a puppy, according to court records.

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The woman told police that before she called them, she was walking her dog in the 400 block of North Locust Street when she heard what sounded like a crying noise coming from inside a trash bag, according to court records.

The woman said she looked inside the bag "and found a very young male puppy." The woman told police that other than the puppy being covered with dirt and feces, it appeared to be healthy, court records state.

The bag was tied shut and there was other trash in the bag, the woman told police. The woman took the puppy to her house and called police, according to court records.

Hagerstown Police Officer Ryan Wertz said in court records the woman took him to where she found the puppy and the bag was directly in front of 424 N. Locust St.

Wertz said there is an apartment building with six units at 424 N. Locust St., and he began knocking on doors at the apartment building in an attempt to find tenants with dogs.

Wertz said he made contact with Sharrah and while speaking to Sharrah, Wertz observed eight puppies and a large female pit bull in a back bedroom, court records state. The puppies appeared to be very similar in breed and age to the found puppy, Wertz said.

Sgt. Tom Langston said on the night of the incident the puppy found in the trash appeared to be a runt.

Wertz said when he talked to Sharrah about the puppy in the trash, Sharrah talked about puppies he had and said one of them died. Sharrah told police he put the puppy in the trash and placed it outside the apartment building, according to court records.

The Humane Society of Washington County arrived and took eight other puppies and the mother of the dogs. The woman who found the puppy in the bag took the animal to a veterinary hospital, police said.

Despite being found outside on a windy night when temperatures hovered in the 20s, the puppy appeared to be OK, Langston said.

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