POMEROY, Ohio – Multiple people were arraigned in the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas Jan. 24, 2018 on animal fighting charges.
Seven of the nine people charged with animal fighting indictments appeared before Judge I. Carson Crow. Of the seven, all were released on Own Recognizance (OR) Bonds. Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley and Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Adkins represented the state. All of the defendants were advised to retain representation in the various cases.
All of the cases come from an alleged bear baiting incident on Nov. 11, 2017 in the county. The case originated from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and involved multiple law enforcement agencies. On the day of the warrant being served, the ODA was in charge of the investigation. Due to the nature of the charges, it was eventually turned over to local authorities to continue with in the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture regulates the permits for Dangerous Wild Animals, which Bailey had for a bear. According to Mark Bruce, Communications Director with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, permits for such animals have specific rules for their care and keeping. Other animals, such as dogs are not to have contact with the dangerous wild animal. Only inspected enclosures may be utilized and no one is suppose to have contact with the animal by law except for the permit holder. Children are not to be in the enclosure at any time.
Prior to the indictment, Clinton Bailey had been very vocal on social media of his innocence and perceived “persecution” for the investigation and seizure of the bear known as Cinny. Bailey had made statements that due to his comments on a political issue on the fall ballot, county officials were responsible for the seizure. However, the investigation was initiated by the state, not local authorities and was seized by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Bruce said the department takes such cases seriously, stating, “No animal should be put in the situation like this one,” referring to the alleged bear baiting. While Bailey has questioned the current care and keeping of Cinny, Bruce said the bear is in the care of the state, is safe and receiving care from professionals.
While Bailey was alleged to have had dogs in the cage fighting the bear, he was not the only one charged in the case. Several other individuals were there for an alleged event in which Clinton Bailey was to have charged admission for or some fee as well.
Clinton Bailey appeared on two counts of Animal Fighting, each misdemeanors of the fourth degree, three counts of Animal Fighting, each unclassified felonies, and nine counts of Dangerous Wild Animal Prohibitions, each misdemeanors of the first degree. Bailey appeared with his attorney, Jeffery L. Finley.
Also arraigned on one count each of Animal Fighting, an unclassified felony were Carissa Bailey, Charles Ayers, Tina Ayers, Courtney Cook, Delbert Gunnoe, Joshua Wilcox, Noble Walker, and Shane Walker. Carissa Bailey appeared with her attorney, Charles Knight, while Courtney Cook appeared with her attorney, Robert Toy. The other defendants did not have representation at the time of arraignment. Toy agreed to represent them only for the purposes of arraignment and each were advised to retain their own attorneys.
Gregory Charles Moles of Elkview, West Virginia did not appear in court for arraignment. Neither did William Hays of Walton, West Virginia. According to one of the other men, those two did not receive notice of the court proceedings. The court was sending out summons to each.
All were indicted by the Meigs County Grand Jury on January 10, 2018. Each of the cases will move forward. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.