Stone to be sentenced in animal cruelty case
At 8:45 a.m., on Monday, Aug. 18, Matthew Scott Stone will appear for sentencing at Tioga County Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas located at 118 Main St. in Wellsboro, Pa. with Honorable Robert E. Dalton Jr. presiding. Matthew Scott Stone pled guilty recently to misdemeanor animal cruelty in relation to a small dog that he abandoned in the woods in a crate. The small dog was deceased when discovered in January.
According to State Police out of Mansfield, Pa., on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 around 3:15 p.m., the body of a puppy or young black and tan dog was found frozen in an upside down crate about 100-feet off Cummings Creek Road in Farmington Township in Tioga County, Pa. Following investigation by State Police in Mansfield, 29-year-old Matthew Stone of Elkland, Pa. was charged with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
Necropsies of the dog, who was initially named Elsa until the gender was determined, thus named "Charlie," proved that the young dog died of starvation after being discovered in the woods inside the crate, and in a frozen state.
According to court documents, Matthew Scott Stone admitted to abandoning the dog in early October in the crate, stating his brother, Joshua, was working out of town and "did not want the dogs" and told him to get rid of them.
Court documents and the necropsy performed revealed that the dog was still alive when he (Matthew Scott Stone) dropped it off in a latched plastic crate in the woods. It was also determined, during preliminary investigations, that the dog was discarded in October of 2013, although not discovered until Jan. 19, 2014.
On July 7, and following several occasions in which Matthew Scott Stone waived various preliminary pre-trial hearings, and the case was moved to the Wellsboro Common Court of Pleas, he rendered a guilty plea to one count of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, for the starvation of the young dog. If Matthew Scott Stone had not rendered the guilty plea, a trial would have been scheduled.
Since the small dog was discovered deceased, public outrage was sparked with the creation of a Facebook Page named "Justice for Elsa" that was later changed to "Justice for Charlie," adding close to 10,000 followers in a short period of time following the January 2014 discovery of the deceased dog.
This heinous act of cruelty also garnered attention from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who petitioned the court to prosecute Matthew Scott Stone to the fullest extent of the law.
Wendy Reber, Wellsboro director at Animal Care Sanctuary's Wellsboro location, has been an outspoken advocate since the small dog was found deceased, and has rallied other area animal advocates to petition for stricter penalties in Pennsylvania for individuals who abuse animals. Since Matthew Scott Stone was charged, all 50 states in America have adopted Felony Cruelty to Animals provisions.
Recently, Reber has hand delivered an impact statement to the court regarding the case against Matthew Scott Stone that will be read prior to Monday's sentencing, if the court allows. The statement also includes a petition containing signatures urging the court to sentence Matthew Scott Stone to the fullest extent that the law will allow, and is requesting restitution be made for the necropsy performed on Charlie.
In a plea for justice sent by Carolyn Bair of Wellsboro, Pa. to District Attorney Krista Deats, she is asking that the community serve as the voice for "Charlie," and that he receive the maximum sentence of a fine not less than $500, and possible jail time of 90 days, according to Pennsylvania's Cruelty Law, Â§ 5511.
In Bair's letter to District Attorney Krista Deats, she stated, "I still find it completely incomprehensible that someone could so deliberately torture an animal, to inflict such pain and suffering on something so helpless as 'Charlie,' or for that matter, any animal."
Bair also noted that because the crate was flipped around, it was obvious that the dog was suffering to free itself from the confinement of the crate. And although it was recorded in recent documents that Matthew Scott Stone believed someone "â¦would come along and find the dog," Bair questioned this statement, as he did not return to the scene to check on the dog's welfare.
Bair concluded with a well-known statement, "The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members."
With respect to the Matthew Scott Stone case, and as a citizen of Tioga County, and an advocate for the rights and protection of all those without a voice, Bair implored the court to render a penalty and consequence of the fullest extent of the law.