MIAMI COUNTY — An animal cruelty case that went to a bench trial over two years ago is still awaiting a verdict from Miami County Municipal Court Judge Gary Nasal.
Joshua C. Oswald, 32, of Bradford, underwent a bench trial in Miami County Municipal Court on Feb. 26, 2018 on charges of first-degree misdemeanor prohibitions concerning companion animals and minor misdemeanor prohibition against deposit of dead animals and offal upon land or water. A bench trial is a trial by judge, so there was no jury involved. A verdict still has not been given in that case, and approximately $590 in court costs and fees remain unpaid.
Oswald was originally charged in August 2017 after allegations were reported to the Miami County Animal Shelter that Oswald intentionally killed a dog with his vehicle. According to Municipal Court records, the allegations stemmed from a Facebook post “that Joshua Oswald had made with pictures of the dog laying in the roadway dead.” In one post, Oswald stated the dog, another pit bull, had killed five of his cats, so when it returned, he “ran it over then got out of the truck and kicked it to death.” Oswald later denied kicking the dog, saying he wrote that because he was mad and was trying to find the owner.
On Aug. 22, 2017, deputies from the animal shelter and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office discovered a dog body in a ditch approximately half a mile off State Route 721 on Panther Creek Road, which Oswald later identified as the dog in the incident. The dog body was later taken for a necropsy, which was completed by Dr. Alice Roudabush of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg. According to the final report of the necropsy, “blunt force trauma is the cause of multiple injuries and the death of this dog.” Injuries to the dog included a prolapsed and ruptured right eye, rib fractures, fractures of the right and left shoulder blades, muscle hemorrhages, and more. There were also skin abrasions on the dog that could have been attributed to friction or blunt trauma. Since the abraded skin was red, the “trauma that caused those abrasions also occurred before the dog died.”
According to court records, Oswald admitted to killing the dog by hitting it with his vehicle. At the time around this incident, Oswald said he had cats going missing, saying two stray pit bulls had been “coming around his property and killing his kittens.”
When Oswald was reached for comment on Friday, Oswald said his actions were him defending his family and livestock.
“The dog came to my house and killed several of my pets,” Oswald said. Oswald said he had seen one of the dogs “chewing my pets.”
“I’m not a bad guy,” Oswald said.
During the night prior to this incident, Oswald fired a firearm into the ground to scare two pit bulls away from two kittens. Oswald then saw one of the dogs returning the next morning at approximately 7 a.m. on Aug. 21, and he said this was before the animal shelter was open for him to call for help with dog. One of the original reports state he “awoke to find another kitten being killed by one of the pit bulls,” and he was concerned about shooting the dog due to there being no backstop in the dog’s general direction. Another report noted Oswald said “the dog was not attacking anything or growling.”
“It was an aggressive animal,” Oswald said on Friday. “I killed an aggressive wild animal.”
Oswald also said that, to date, “no one has ever claimed that dog,” saying that made the dog no longer companion animal but, instead, a wild animal.
“There are no charges for that,” Oswald said.
Oswald said the case “dramatically affected” his life.
“I lost my house. I lost my fiancée, the right to my kids,” Oswald said.
The lack of a verdict for the case and the case remaining open is also continuing to affect his life. At the time of the incident, he lost his job, and now he continues to have to work as an independent contractor.
“No one will hire me,” Oswald said.
Nasal did not respond to a request for comment this week regarding this case and its lack of a disposition.
Two other high-profile animal cruelty cases have recently been assigned to Nasal’s courtroom. Nasal recently presided over the puppy mill case, where Larisa A. Solomon, 53, of Concord Township, housed approximately 125 dogs in her home where she and two juveniles resided. Solomon received a $1,000 fine and probation.
The case against Dayna A. Cocca, 26, of Tipp City, is also scheduled for a pre-trial conference in Nasal’s courtroom on May 7. Cocca was charged with six counts of second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty in January for the alleged treatment of horses in her care, including complaints of malnourished horses at the Born To Fly Stables located on Singer Road in Bethel Township. Three of the malnourished horses were removed by the owners while two others had died, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.