Woman gets 60 days for her involvement in animal abuse case
LISBON — A Wellsville woman was sentenced to 60 days in jail for allowing animals to die while in her care and her child to stay in the home with the dead animals, feces and only moldy food in the refrigerator.
Bambi N. Chase, 32, Wood Street, Wellsville, had previously pleaded guilty to eight counts of prohibition concerning companion animals, four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of endangering children.
On March 8, 2018, authorities found there had been harm to six Boston terriers and four pigs. Some of the animals were confined without food and water and with an 8-year-old child living in the home as well. Four of the dogs and two of the pigs were dead, while the others were emaciated. The home where the child was living had large amounts of feces, smelled of urine and had rotten food in the refrigerator.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones requested Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam consider a nine-month term for the charges, pointing out Chase should have known better after she studied equine management and was involved in both Future Farmers of America and 4-H. Jones said when authorities were in the house, the child was attempting to eat moldy food from the refrigerator.
She drew an objection from defense attorney Colleen Hall Dailey when she graphically described the condition of one of the deceased dogs, which was depicted in one of several photographs Jones gave to Washam to review.
Dailey said Chase, who now has two young children, had been living with the co-defendant, Christopher N. Austin, and had left her child there although not on a full time basis. The 8-year-old also often stayed with a grandparent.
While Dailey said Chase admits the house had not gotten in that condition in only four days, she had not been there during the four days prior to the visit by authorities.
Michelle Fookes, with county Jobs and Family Services, took the stand and talked about Chase’s new living arrangements away from the Hillcrest Road home where the deceased animals were found. Fookes talked about how Chase had done what she needed to do to get her children back, including participating in a homemaker program.
Jones questioned Fookes about the effect living with dead animals had on the child, but Fookes said the child has never mentioned it to her.
“The state is asking you to put the value of the lives of the animals above the lives of the children,” Dailey said, adding Chase has had custody of her children again for more than a year.
Chase told Washam she was sorry, but also blamed Austin, who is soon to be released after serving 60 days in jail for the same charges.
Chase said she was busy going to school and working two jobs, but she should have been home more. Additionally, she said they were Austin’s animals and Austin’s home, which he should have been capable of dealing with because he had done so prior to her moving in.
“I can’t understand how any human being could allow such filth to exist inside a home,” Washam said, adding it showed total neglect to leave starving, emaciated and decayed animals in a home with a child.
In addition to the 60-day jail sentence Chase will begin serving on Aug. 27 after Austin is released to take care of the children, Chase was placed on four years community control.