Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] Man Gets 5 Years for Allowing Greyhound Deaths

By: Vanessa Nguyen; AP; Bryan Anderson Email
By: Vanessa Nguyen; AP; Bryan Anderson Email

Chipley, FL (AP) - October 20, 2011 --
by Bryan Anderson

After a year into the case of accused greyhound killer Ronald Williams, finally there's some justice for animal rights activists nationwide.

Investigators said last October, he abused and neglected 42 dogs, with most of them dying from their injuries.

"When you find some psychopath like that, my God, the animals are helpless," said Chipley resident Don Gray.

Williams since appeared at several pre-trial hearings before deciding to enter a plea of "no contest" Thursday.

Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson asked Williams several questions, then accepted his plea to 39 counts of felony animal abuse.

"It is the sentence of this court that you are to serve five years in the Florida Department of Corrections on each and every count, those to be served concurrent to one another," Patterson told Williams.

As he was leaving the courtroom, Williams said one more thing to Judge Patterson.

"Thank you sir, you have a nice day," said Williams.

Williams received the maximum sentence allowed under state law. His attorney said he plans to appeal the judge's earlier ruling denying a motion to dismiss the case on a constitutional basis.

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Chipley, FL (AP) - A Florida panhandle man will spend five
years in prison for allowing the deaths of 32 greyhounds at a
racetrack.

A Washington County judge sentenced Ronnie Williams on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to 42 counts of animal cruelty. He was given five years for each count, but the sentences will run
concurrently.

The Panama City News Herald (http://bit.ly/nLZ4Lg ) reports that
the dogs were discovered in October 2010 after a local greyhound
adoption group alerted authorities that Williams had brought in
eight underweight dogs, triggering an investigation by the Florida
Department of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. Besides the 32 dead dogs,
officials found five others that were emaciated but still alive.

Necropsy exams on the dead dogs revealed they died from
starvation and dehydration.

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[UPDATE] 12-7-2010

A Washington County man accused of killing more than 30-greyhound racing dogs has pled 'not guilty' to 42-counts of felony animal cruelty. The charges stem from the October 29th discovery of dozens of dead dogs at an Ebro greyhound park kennel.

36-year-old Ronald Williams walked into the Washington County courtroom Monday without any legal representation. He didn't seem too concerned about the 42 counts of animal cruelty he is currently facing.

”32 counts of felony cruelty to animals and in case number 414, ten counts of felony cruelty to animals,” says Erin Oliver, Assistant State Attorney

Authorities arrested Williams on October 29th after they found 32-dead greyhounds in the Ebro greyhound park kennel that was assigned to him. Necropsies found the animals died from starvation and dehydration. The case has sparked outrage from animal rights groups who are demanding Williams receive the maximum punishment.

On Monday morning, Williams told circuit Judge Allen Register he could not afford an attorney.

"Do you have a bank account?" Judge Register asked.
"No sir." Williams replied.
"Do you own any stocks, bonds or any type of investment?
"No sir."

But before he was arrested, William was making a decent paycheck.

"Prior to being arrested, what was your weekly or bi-weekly income?"

"Um...it depends...somewhere around a thousand, fifteen hundred a week."

Judge register appointed a public defender and accepted his 'not guilty' plea.

His next court date will be a pre-trial hearing on February 11th.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office is conducting its own investigation into whether Williams is connected to the death of eight greyhounds found under the Highway 20 Bridge.

______________________________

[UPDATE] 12-6-2010

Washington County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of a Ponce De Leon man on 37 counts of felony animal cruelty in one of the most disturbing cases of cruelty to animals the Washington County Sheriff Office has ever investigated.

On the evening of Friday, October 29th, gaming officials responded to Ebro Greyhound Park after receiving complaints by residents in reference to the smell of decaying animals coming from the kennels on site. After arriving and assessing the status of the animals, gaming officials immediately contacted Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators with WCSO responded to the scene and found 37 dogs in the kennels. Of the 37 dogs, only 4 were found alive, but near death. 3 of the dogs had duct tape around their necks and had to be cut away to allow them to breathe. All 4 surviving dogs were treated by veterinarians on site.

Ronald John Williams, 36 year old white male of Ponce De Leon, FL was arrested and charged with 37 counts of felony cruelty to animals. Williams was transported to Washington County Jail where he is being held on $54,000 bond.

WCTV has included pictures.

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[UPDATE] 12-6 10:50am --

Ronnie Williams (accused greyhound dog killer) appeared in the Chipley courtroom today (12/6) for arraignment. He faces 32 counts of felony animal cruelty for one case and another 10 ten counts of animal cruelty in a second case.

Williams told Judge Allen Register he could not afford an attorney. The judge asked him about his financial background and he said he didn't own any property, and didn't have a bank account, stocks, or bonds, but he said his weekly/bi-weekly income was about $1,000-$1,500 a week.

Williams was appointed someone from the Public Defender's
Office. His pre-trial date is set for February 11th @ 9am.

____________________________________

[UPDATE] 11-25 1:45pm --

EBRO, Fla. (AP) --

Five greyhounds found alive last month at a Panhandle race track where 32 others were found dead have all showed major improvement.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office and the state's Division
of Pari-Mutuel Wagering reported finding the animals Oct. 29 at the
kennel run by veteran animal trainer Ronald Williams. He remains in
jail on 37 counts of animal cruelty.

Workers at the Ebro Greyhound Park's adoption center have been
caring for the five survivors for nearly a month. The previously
malnourished animals have been putting on weight. They've also been given antibiotics to treat open sores, as well as medication for
worms.

Workers say the dogs are well enough to be adopted, as soon as
investigators release them.

____________________________________________________

[UPDATE] 11-8 10:35am --

EBRO, Fla. (AP) --

Starvation and dehydration have been ruled the causes of death for the 32 greyhounds found at a Panhandle greyhound race track.

The necropsy results come a week after the dogs' trainer was
arrested and charged with 37 counts of felony animal cruelty -- one
for each dead dog, plus five counts for emaciated animals that were
still alive. Ronald Williams is being held at the Washington County
jail on $74,000 bail. According to arrest reports, he told deputies
the dogs were fine when he checked on them two days earlier. It's
unclear whether he is being represented by an attorney.

The dogs were found after a local greyhound adoption group
alerted authorities that Williams had brought in eight underweight
dogs, triggering an investigation by the Florida Department of
Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

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[UPDATE] 11-4 8:55am --

EBRO, Fla. (AP) --

Court documents show that duct tape was found wrapped around the necks of dogs found dead at a greyhound park in the Florida Panhandle.

According to arrest reports filed at the Washington County
Courthouse, deputies could only enter the kennel at Ebro Greyhound
Park last week with breathing devices because the stench was so
strong. They found nearly 40 dead dogs in cages and plastic bags
and five dogs still alive.

Officers said three of the living dogs and some of the dead dogs
had duct tape around their necks.

The dogs' trainer, Ronald Williams faces animal cruelty charges.
According to arrest reports, he told deputies the dogs were fine
when he checked on them two days earlier.

Necropsies are planned to determine what killed the dogs.

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EBRO, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating the deaths of at
least 20 dogs at a greyhound park in the Panhandle.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office arrested the dogs'
trainer, Ronnie Williams, on Friday and charged him with animal cruelty. A local greyhound adoption group alerted authorities that Williams had brought in eight underweight dogs, triggering an investigation by the Florida Department of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

It's unclear exactly how many dogs were found dead at Ebro
Greyhound Park. The park's assistant general manager Mark Hess says Williams' dogs were healthy during the season, which ended Sept. 25. Hess says Williams continued to come to the track every day to let out two dogs for exercise and told other trainers he had only those two left.

It wasn't known whether Williams has an attorney.


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