LORAIN – The two owners of the 21 cane corsos seized in a July raid last year await sentencing after pleading no contest before Judge Mark Mihok at the Lorain Municipal court Tuesday afternoon.
Lauren Souris, 36, of Olmsted Falls, and Cornelius Charlton, 44, of Lorain, took back their not guilty pleas against the four second-degree misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at the Lorain Municipal Court before Judge Mihok.
Souris and Charlton each were charged with 21 counts of cruelty to companion animals after the Lorain County dog warden and Lorain Police Department seized the 21 dogs in a raid July 17, 2018. After multiple court appearances, they were scheduled to go to trial in early October that same year.
In late September, however, prosecutors with the city of Lorain changed the charges to felonies and the case was bound over to the grand jury. The two were sent back to Lorain Municipal Court in November after a Lorain County grand jury elected not to indict them on felony counts and returned to misdemeanors.
Lorain police received an anonymous tip July 17 2018 concerning the welfare of the animals in an apartment at 1703 E. 28th St. A search warrant was secured and 21 cane corsos were seized and taken to Friendship Animal Protective League in Elyria.
The dogs were left alone in the unventilated, apartment without air conditioning and were without water when they were found by law enforcement, police have said.
Greg Willey, the executive director of Friendship APL, has said some of the dogs need medical attention, such as surgery on their eyes, which can't be provided while the case is unresolved.
Many of the dogs are now being cared for in foster homes while the case works its way through the system.
Jack Bradley, who represents Souris and Charlton, said the two could face a fine up to $750 and up to five years of probation with each count. The two are also barred from owning any animals before sentencing.
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