CROWN POINT – A trial is set to commence on February 7th in LaPorte Superior Court for a man accused of animal cruelty and neglect. The charges stem from allegations that he failed to provide proper care for multiple dogs residing at his self-proclaimed “animal rescue” located in Michigan City.
According to an incident narrative filed in court last January, the dogs were found malnourished, injured, and neglected while under the care of John Naughton at his residence on the 200 block of Earl Road. Several animal rescue organizations in Indiana and Ohio have joined forces with Naughton in a collaborative effort. Under this agreement, Naughton takes in adoptable dogs from these organizations and ensures they receive specialized veterinary care and other necessary services that the shelters are unable to provide.
Naughton, on the other hand, is facing allegations of housing an excessive number of dogs and neglecting their well-being, resulting in their deteriorated condition under his care. Reports indicate that he is accused of misappropriating funds provided by shelters for personal use. Shelter volunteers contacted authorities and presented them with evidence that Naughton was neglecting his responsibilities to care for the dogs. A man is facing charges of 11 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
A code enforcement officer from Michigan City recently conducted an inspection of Naughton’s property and concluded that it was insufficient in size to accommodate the significant number of animals present on the premises. According to the incident narrative, a detective reported that there were a total of fourteen dogs in crates.
Seven of them were located side by side in the basement, while the other seven were in crates on an enclosed porch that leads to the basement. Several individuals exhibited sores on their paws as a result of confinement in cramped crates, along with visible traces of urine and feces, as well as noticeable muscle atrophy.
According to the detective, the majority of the dogs were taken away by volunteers and returned to their original rescues or other rescue organizations before the code enforcement check.
The detective reported that John had failed the dogs in his care. John’s decision to take on more responsibilities than he could handle has resulted in inadequate living conditions for his animals. The deplorable living conditions of the rescued dogs prompted a complaint that eventually reached the Mayor’s office in our city.
According to a colleague, John’s work schedule consists of 11-hour days at his full-time job, raising concerns about his ability to adequately care for the animals. Naughton refuted allegations of mistreating the animals, although he did acknowledge feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs under his care.
According to the incident narrative, when charges were filed, he had around 10 dogs under his care. However, it was revealed that he had previously taken care of over 30 dogs at one time. According to online court records, Naughton submitted a request for a bench trial in November. In bench trials, judges preside over cases without a jury.