CLEARFIELD – A Morrisdale man pleaded guilty Monday to animal cruelty and neglect charges because he did not seek medical assistance for a dog with quills in his face.
An Animal Control Officer investigating a call about the animal was at the residence of Darrell Robert Kent, 61, on Aug. 8, 2022 when she saw the dog, Luna, who was “in bad shape,” according to the criminal complaint.
“Luna was underweight, her face was severely swollen and she was unable to open her eye. The animal had blood in her fur and smelled of diesel fuel,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.
The dog was seized and taken to a veterinarian where over 75 quills were reportedly removed from her face, one of which was two inches into one of her eyes.
During sentencing court Monday, Kent admitted he made some “bad choices” but said he loved the dog that was his service dog, “very much.” He went on to say he was in a bad position and actually had a vet appointment the day the dog was taken.
His attorney, Jendi Schwab, also stated that he loved his pet but was suicidal at the time and did not have the capacity to seek treatment for her.
Schwab added that Kent, currently an inmate of the Centre County Jail, is facing a significant sentence for a probation revocation in that county for these offenses. (Online court documents indicate he has a probation revocation hearing on a previous drug case on Nov. 7.)
Kent was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to serve six months to two years in state prison. He must pay restitution of over $2,200 to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was ordered not to have any other pets.
Additional information in the affidavit of probable cause includes that Luna needed to be sedated while the quills were removed because of the extreme pain she was suffering. It was also hard to place a tube for sedation down the dog’s throat because of swelling and Luna had trouble opening her mouth.
In addition to the quills, the dog was underweight, and had yeast infections with both eyes swollen shut, according to police.
When the officer spoke with Kent, he said he knew the dog was suffering and reportedly admitted to not calling a vet saying he thought his family did.
He reportedly explained that he soaked rags in diesel fuel and wrapped them around the dog’s face to “remove the infection.”
The animal control officer noted in the affidavit that Kent “did knowingly torture a pit bull type animal, causing severe and prolong pain” by “allowing porcupine quills to remain in her face and body for 27 days causing pain, infection and surgical removal.”