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Man convicted in animal cruelty case sentenced to home detention

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Joel Clark

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 25, 2015)– An Indianapolis man convicted of animal cruelty after he killed a dog by placing it in an oven will not spend time in jail.

Joel Clark was found guilty on three counts of animal cruelty Tuesday. He was sentenced to 1,095 days, with the first 730 days on home detention served at the Good New Ministry, and the last 365 days on suspended probation. He will also be wearing an ankle bracelet.

In May 2014, police were dispatched to a home in the 1500 block of Leonard Street.

Christine Kelley, who lives at the home with her boyfriend, children and two dogs, said a house guest, Clark, killed her dog on May 16, 2014. Clark had been living at the home after being released from prison.

Kelley’s boyfriend, Richard Smith, was in the house with Clark the next day. As the couple’s other dog walked by, Clark told him, “I can take care of that dog, too” and then admitted he’d killed the other dog.

Later in the afternoon, Kelley went to throw something away in a trashcan. She found the dog “lying dead in the bottom.” Kelley and Smith left the home and returned later that night, ordering Clark to get his things and leave their home. Clark complied.

A necropsy determined that the cause of death was “thermal pulmonary injury leading to pulmonary edema”—a backup of fluid in the lungs caused by smoke inhalation.

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