Former dog pound employee acquitted of cruelty charge

A former employee at the Lucas County dog pound was found not guilty of animal cruelty in Toledo Municipal Court on Tuesday. Aaron Nova was charged with one count of animal cruelty after he was observed carrying a dog by its neck inside the Lucas County dog pound last July. The Toledo Area Humane Society filed an animal cruelty charge against Nova with the blessing of the Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle. However Municipal Court Judge Timothy Kuhlman found Nova not guilty determining that Nova's actions did not rise to the level of cruelty.

The case caused a sensation last summer when the Toledo Area Humane Society made public the video of the incident on July 22, 2012. A dog named Marbles had chewed off its leash and was roaming through a kennel area. Nova is seen on the video picking the dog up by its neck and throwing the dog into a cage. On the witness stand Dog Warden Lyle admitted that the dog was not physically injured and was in fact adopted the very next day.

When Nova was charged he was on probation on an unrelated incident. A judge determined that the animal cruelty charge was a probation violation. Nova spent 25 days in jail. Nova, 26, was defended by Jerry Phillips who argued that the tape did not prove Nova commited an act of cruelty. "He was not trying to hurt that dog, he was trying to get it into the cage," Mr. Phillips said.

Nova was emotional when making a brief statement oustide the courtroom following his acquittal. "I was damn good at my job and I took it very seriously," Mr. Nova said.