Animal cruelty charges from 2020 against Miami County man dropped

Miami Valley News

A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

MIAMI COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — Charges of animal cruelty were dismissed this week against a Miami County man who was charged in 2020 when deputies discovered livestock living in unfit conditions.

Miami Valley Today, our news partners, reported Cory A. Morris, 44, owner of “Annie the Highway Cow” and of the Critters of Griffin’s Willow Farms.

Morris was first charged in May 2020 with six counts of second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty related to two search warrants executed on May 18 and May 26 of last year at the property he owns at 2620 S. Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls.

Neighbors, among other individuals, notified authorities in 2020 about noxious odors coming from the residence and property, along with concerns for the condition of animals found on the property. During the May 18, 2020 search warrant, deputies found the residence to be “in complete disrepair,” with animal carcasses decomposing both inside and outside the residence. Officials say the residence was unfit for habitation.

Following the search warrants, Morris agreed to re-home 23 ducks, two donkeys, one cow, and seven pigs to other livestock owners who took possession of the animals, according to previous reports from Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. Morris retained four miniature ponies, eight potbellied pigs, several cows, and some chickens.

On Monday, Miami County Municipal Court Judge Gary Nasal dismissed the charges of animal cruelty against Morris. The charges were dismissed following a motion to suppress hearing.

Morris was also found guilty on Monday in Municipal Court of fourth-degree misdemeanor failure to confine a domestic animal. He received a $75 fine plus court costs with the stipulation to have no like offense for two years, according to court records.

“We’re thrilled the charges were dropped,” Morris told Miami Valley Today on Wednesday regarding the animal cruelty charges. “Our legal team worked very diligently.”

In a press release, Morris said the charges stemmed from “an unfounded complaint from PETA.” He added it was “disheartening” to learn of PETA’s involvement.

On Wednesday, Duchak said his department and he stood by their original investigation and reports. He told Miami Valley Today the property has since been cleaned up.

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