LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) — A Liberty man thought he was helping a dog in need only later to find out he had been summoned to appear in court and could face charges for animal cruelty. In the end, it was a mistake and misunderstanding but for a while it had the man concerned that he’d be charged with something he didn’t do.

Liberty’s Tim Monroe Thursday afternoon showed his neighbor’s house on Keefer Road where on Tuesday, July 5 he rescued an older Golden Retriever named Santos who was trapped in a small bathroom.

“And I could hear roo, roo, roo, roo. And I said this dog hasn’t moved from when I heard it the other day,” said Monroe.

After learning the man living in the house was arrested and jailed, Monroe tracked down a key and entered the house which Monroe said was in deplorable condition.

“I put on a homemade hazmat suit, went in and found the dog in that squalor bathroom locked in, got the dog out, gave it some food, water,” said Monroe.

He also contacted the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County who on July 6 sent an investigator.

“In essence, she said you have to care for the dog until the process plays out, and at that point, I said, ‘I never said I would take care of this dog,’ and she said, ‘Well that’s the law. You have to take care of it,’ and I said, ‘I’m not taking care of this dog beyond what I did,’ and she said, ‘Well you could be charged,'” said Monroe.

Animal Welfare later served Monroe with a notice of impound for a suspected violation of cruelty to companion animals. He was then notified that a criminal case had been filed against him in Girard Municipal Court and a probable cause hearing was scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

The prosecutor for Animal Welfare League said filing the case as criminal was a mistake. The hearing is to determine if anyone has an interest in the dog and if not, Animal Welfare will take over ownership. Monroe has now been told he doesn’t even have to show up.

“I would think there could be a simpler method for them to resolve issues like this for people like myself, and I’m sure there’s many of them out there that see an animal in distress or know about an animal that’s being abused and they want to do the right thing,” said Monroe.

Even though Monroe has been told he does not have to appear Friday morning in Girard Municipal Court, he’s yet to decide if he’s going to do so.