LOGAN – One of the defendants in a Hocking County animal cruelty case has asked a judge for, and been granted, access to video footage provided by a concerned citizen, that was reportedly used as evidence to support the issuance of a search warrant in the case.
A state Route 180 couple, Bobby and Tracey Fox, have each been charged with two counts of cruelty to companion animals, a fifth-degree felony. The indictments were issued in March after Hocking County Sheriff’s officers, accompanied by personnel from the Hocking County Health Department and the county humane society, executed a search warrant at the Foxes’ residence Jan. 22, seizing 42 German Shepherd dogs.
As previously reported in The Logan Daily News, Bobby Fox has argued in a filing in Hocking County Common Pleas Court that the seizure was done without probable cause, and the animals should be returned.
Bobby Fox’s attorney, Robert F. Krapenc, noted in the court filing that prior to the search of the Foxes’ property, Hocking County Sheriff’s Detective David Wright, who serves as the county’s chief dog warden, or someone in his office, had received a call from “a concerned citizen,” reporting that Fox had several dogs that were not being properly cared for. The caller also sent photos and video to support this claim, according to the affidavit Wright filled out to obtain a search warrant.
Krapenc has pointed out that Wright’s affidavit does not indicate when the material was received, when the pictures and video were taken, or who the caller was. He has raised these points in support of his claim that the warrant that led to seizure of the 42 dogs was issued without probable cause, and that the dogs should be returned.
Now the attorney for Tracey Fox, Christopher T. Junga, has asked Common Pleas Judge John T. Wallace to order the Hocking County Prosecutor’s office to turn over to the defense evidence in its possession, including the video footage. In his July 22 motion to compel discovery, Junga says the defense believes the video “contains important relevant evidence.”
Wallace granted the discovery motion on July 23. In Bobby Fox’s case, there is a hearing scheduled Aug. 20 to address the issue of whether there was probable cause to issue the search warrant.
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