(1:35 PM) City Man Sentenced To One Year In County Jail For Hanging Dog

Robert Overton Jr.

MAYVILLE — Robert J. Overton Jr., 48, of Jamestown, has been sentenced to one year in the Chautauqua County Jail after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Overton was sentenced Monday by Judge David Foley in Chautauqua County Court.

A grand jury inducted Overton last year on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class E felony. Overton was charged with animal cruelty in early April after a passerby found his decomposing pit bull hanging from a tree in a wooded area near Hallock and Palmer streets in Jamestown. Police said the animal was likely alive when it was hanged from the tree either late last year or early this year. An investigation resulted in Overton’s arrest shortly after the animal was found.

“First and foremost, I again want to thank the Jamestown Police Department for their outstanding investigation on this case,” said Patrick Swanson, Chautauqua County district attorney. “Finding the perpetrator of this hideous offense took good, old-fashioned investigation. John Zuroski prosecuted this case for my office. I want to thank him for his hard work bringing this to a close. This case reminds us of the deficiencies in New York state law. Many people believe that this level of punishment is insufficient. What I say to those folks is that they need to contact their state representatives and push for change. The actions of this man were dreadful. But two years was the maximum potential punishment under our law. The court sentenced him to a jail term that we are pleased with given the law.”

Shortly after Overton was charged, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello announced his intention to create an animal abuse registry to create an online registry to identify any Chautauqua County resident who has been convicted of animal abuse crimes. Actions that result in being placed on the registry include abandoning, injuring, overdriving, or torturing animals; failing to provide proper sustenance; poisoning or attempting to poison animals; harming service animals; and injuring or killing a police animal.

The registry law prevents animal abuse offenders from adopting, purchasing or obtaining animals from any animal shelter or pet seller. It also requires animal shelters and pet sellers to examine the Animal Abuser Registry to confirm that the name of the potential owner is not listed.

“Mr. Overton will be the first offender to be placed on the Animal Abuser registry in Chautauqua County,” Swanson said. “My hope is that this man does not have domestic animals again.”