Missoula Man Pleads Not Guilty to Two Counts of Animal Cruelty [AUDIO]
Jonathan Davis Lamphere of Missoula appeared in justice court on Tuesday, April 1, on two counts of cruelty to animals.
Court documents state that the defendant allegedly left two dogs, a yellow lab and a black lab tied up inside a gutted trailer at the Blue Mountain Trailer Court on Highway 93 South. Senior Deputy County Attorney Patricia Bower said the two dogs were kept in filthy conditions with no food or water.
"Animal Control Officer Cindy Syrjala observed that both dogs were tied up with leashes inside a gutted trailer," Bower said. "The yellow lab had a cut and feces on his muzzle, and the wood in the front of the trailer was bloody from the yellow lab chewing on it frantically. At the time this happened, on February 4, the temperatures and wind chill were estimated at about 20 below zero. Syrjala got a warrant and was able to obtain the animals and determine that the defendant owned both of the dogs."
Bower said Lamphere appeared voluntarily in justice court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bower said Lamphere denied owning the dogs, and that he only paid the rent on the trailer.
Staff at the shelter have named the yellow lab "Robie", and the black lab puppy "Rufus". Both dogs have been in the animal shelter since their rescue, and Bower is hoping that the case can be resolved soon so they can be adopted.
Lamphere faces two counts of animal cruelty. The first is a misdemeanor, and the subsequent charge is a felony. If found guilty on both counts, he could face a total of three years in prison and a fine of $3,500. He is free on his own recognizance.