The Times West Virginian

January 21, 2013

Four States man charged with animal cruelty

After allegedly shooting dogs following altercation with his brother-in-law

By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A Four States area man was arrested early Sunday evening after police say he took a .22-caliber rifle across the way to his sis­ter’s house, got into a verbal argument with his brother-in­law, and then aimed his weapon at a couch where five children sat and shot the family’s smaller dog, Blaze.

He then exited the home and shot an older dog named Toby that was chained up outside and went back to his house, said Deputy J. Bledsoe of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

Officers responded to the 5:45 p.m. call to the address on Parrish Run Road off Four States Road and went to the home of the alleged shooter, Clarence Jones III, 28 or 29.

Jones was arrested on several charges, including animal cruel­ty, multiple counts of wanton endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“We had to go to his resi­dence
after he shot the dogs,” Bledsoe said. “He went back to his residence. That’s where we located him, which is across the road. We confronted him out­side his residence and took him into custody.”

Jones was arrested without incident and as of early Sunday evening, he was awaiting trans­fer to the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County. At some point after his arrival, he would be arraigned, Bledsoe said.

The five children on the couch near the small dog ranged in ages from 3 to 14, Bledsoe said. After Blaze was
shot, the children’s mother took them to a neighbor’s home. None of the children were phys­ically hurt.

Bledsoe did not know the nature of the argument between Jones and the family, who Bledsoe declined to identify Sunday.

“Nothing that would have led up to this,” he added. “We have no idea. We’re trying to sort that out. They got into an altercation over an issue. He brought a firearm — he was mad enough that he brought a firearm to confront them, and he turned
and shot the dog on the couch with the kids and walked outside and shot another dog.”

The Marion County Animal Control was unable to help, Bledsoe said, so the Worthington Volunteer Fire Department transported the two dogs to the North Central West Virginia Veterinary Emergency Clinic. An employee there declined to release information on the condition of the dogs Sunday evening.

However, according to Deputy J. Williamson of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, later in the evening, both dogs were in stable condition, although Toby, the 8-yearold outside dog, was having trouble breathing.

Earlier in the evening, Bledsoe said neither dog had been doing well shortly after the incident, describing their condition as “barely breathing — very shallow breathing.”

Jones already had convictions on several counts, including armed robbery, malicious wounding and domestic battery, so he should not have been in possession of a firearm, which was not registered, Bledsoe said.

“That’s just including a few of them,” he added. “He’s been arrested several times.”

Nobody in the family was arrested in relation to the altercation that led to the dogs being shot.

“There was nothing else done that was criminal other than by Mr. Jones,” Bledsoe said.

Email Mary Wade Burnside at .