Appeals court upholds man's animal cruelty sentence

Charles Clark

INDIANAPOLIS — A southern Indiana woman set up a video camera in her house in an attempt to catch her boyfriend cheating on her with another woman.

Instead, she recorded him torturing her dog, Dudley, by putting the animal in a chokehold and repeatedly punching it in the rib cage.

In another video clip, the boyfriend, Charles P. Clark, of Aurora, was seen stomping on the dog as it sat on the couch.

Aurora Police Sgt. Shane Slack called the March, 2017 incident "one of the worst cases I've seen in 13 years as far as animal abuse."

On Wednesday, Clark had his Level 6 felony convictions on two counts of cruelty to an animal upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

At a May 25, 2017, sentencing hearing, Clark, 43, admitted to the offenses but claimed he couldn't remember them due to a blackout from medication he was taking for mental health problems. He also testified that he was unemployed and had four children from two previous marriages.

Clark had been sentenced by Dearborn Superior Court Judge Sally McLaughlin on each count to 910 days in jail with 365 days suspended to probation on each count. He effectively received a sentence of one-and-half years imprisonment.

Clark appealed saying his sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

The state appellate court said that the dog, a Boxer breed, continued to "experience mental scars" and noted that a new owner, who adopted Dudley a week later, testified that the dog was "very guarded" and "depressed."

The new owner said that Dudley experienced "quite violent nightmares" during which the dog cried out loud and shook.

In upholding the sentence, the appellate court found that Clark said he was seeking mental health treatment but had presented no evidence he was on medication at the time of the incident.

Attempts by CNHI to reach Clark's defense attorney in Madison were unsuccessful.

Contact CNHI Statehouse Reporter Scott L. Miley at 317-602-3650 or smiley@cnhi.com

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