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Ohio man deprived dog of food for so long that it was forced to eat rocks before dying of starvation: Police

David Neanover, 36, was sentenced to 180 days on two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a companion animal
(Butler County Jail)
(Butler County Jail)

BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO: A man has been sentenced after his dog died due to starvation. Reports also found that in a bid to survive, the two-year-old Doberman pinscher called Lou even ate rocks.

David Neanover was sentenced to jail by Judge Robert Lyons on Thursday, May 7, on two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a companion animal over incident that happened in 2019. Judge Lyons sentenced Neanover to 180 days on one cruelty charge and 90 days on the other.

The 36-year-old man, who is from Reily Township, also reportedly deprived the dog of water.

Neanover was also given a 180-day sentence for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, to which he had pleaded guilty, which took place after the 2019 incident involving the dog. The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning he will serve a total of 180 days, which is the maximum for misdemeanor animal cruelty.

The man has also been ordered to pay $2,598.18 in restitution to the dog’s caregivers and was given a $1,500 fine plus court costs. He is in Butler County Jail.

During Thursday's hearing, a letter by a writer whose name is removed from court records was read out. “I am asking for the full extent of the law. To let a sweet, innocent soul live in filth, no food or water, no love or kind treatment…(Neanover) even named him Lucifer when in actuality, this person should be called that.

“If I was a judge, these people who abuse animals would get to experience what they did to animals. Animals are just baby souls in different bodies," the letter said.

The case came into the light after local police in April 2019 received several anonymous complaints about the abuse of the dog. When dog wardens went to Neanover’s house, they found Lou had no food or water and it was also covered in severe open wounds. The animal was then taken to the Animal Friends Humane Society in Hamilton and an X-ray was done that showed it had eaten rocks. Volunteers also found an ulcer on the dog’s tongue making it hard for the animal to eat or drink.

“X-rays showed rocks in his stomach. This we did not expect, but we are not surprised. He lived his life on a VERY short-chain and was deprived of food for quite some time, so we’re sure he got to the point where he was willing to eat anything that he could get his mouth on. He is missing a chunk of his tongue,” Animal Friends Humane Society said at the time.

Sheriff Richard Jones had said then: “No normal human being could look at this dog and think this is acceptable. The pictures are hard to view. It’s much worse in person. Animal Friends will do everything they can to save this poor animal but the current condition is very bad. I am thankful that this was reported. I just hope he can be saved and adopted to someone who cares.”

In June 2019, a golden retriever had mistakenly eaten five pounds of decorative rocks after its family poured leftover barbecue juices over them. Four-year-old Finnegan took rocks as some edible item after picking up the scent of buttery shrimp juices that had been discarded after a barbecue.

However, the dog’s owner Laurie, of Wellington in Ohio, took it for medical assistance after seeing Finnegan poop and vomit out the rocks. “It had to have been at least five pounds. His stomach was full. His intestines were full; they were all throughout him,” the owner said.

The dog was treated and “he is awesome; he’s back to his regular self, he is under very intense supervision but he’s great,” Laurie added.