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      Accused suitcase puppy abandoner back in court

      A Toledo Area Humane Society worker displays two of the puppies found in a suitcase.

      The man accused of stuffing six puppies into a suitcase and allegedly leaving them next to a dumpster in North Toledo will return to court of Monday morning.

      Howard David, 53, will face a judge for a pretrial hearing on two counts of animal abandonment, which he pleaded not guilty to earlier this month. He will also be arraigned on a new charge of cruelty to companion animals.

      All three charges are second-degree misdemeanors and carry a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine per charge.

      A group of outraged Ohio residents who are petitioning for stronger animal cruelty laws is scheduled before Davis' hearing.

      The group behind the rally advocates "Nitro's Law," which would make animal cruelty a felony in Ohio. The state ranks 31st in the nation in animal protection laws.