ST. CLAIRSVILLE Jessie Eugene Arno, 35, Shadyside, was arraigned Monday before Belmont Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato on two counts of animal cruelty, a felony of the fifth degree occurring May 20, 2013.
He pleaded not guilty.
His pre-trial was set for Sept. 16, with plea agreement Nov. 12 and trial Nov. 26.
Bond had been set at $5,000.
This case marks Belmont County's first felony animal abuse court proceeding. Charges stem from the death of two pit bulls and near-death of another in May, when the county humane officer discovered the dead dogs and the condition of the survivor.
Arno's co-defendant, Becky Vittor, will face misdemeanour charges.
Arno has a 2004 conviction for animal abuse. A prior conviction is necessary to bring felony counts of animal abuse against an individual.
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