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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Ashland Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Animal Cruelty and Unlawful Possession of Dangerous Ordnance

ASHLAND, OH – In a case that has gripped the local community, Christopher Ferrell appeared before the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas this morning, accompanied by his attorney, Gregory Tarkowsky. Ferrell, who was indicted by a grand jury on January 11, 2024, on two felony counts, one for cruelty to companion animals and the other for unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance, changed his plea to guilty on April 12, 2024. The court proceedings, overseen by Hon. Judge David R. Stimpert and prosecuted by Ashland County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher R. Tunnell, concluded with Ferrell being sentenced to 18 months in prison.


The Case Details


The indictment stemmed from a troubling incident involving the severe mistreatment of a cat. Ferrell, who had initially pleaded not guilty on January 2, 2024, later, changed his plea following discussions with his legal counsel. During the hearing, Tarkowsky presented a narrative in which Ferrell was left to care for a cat after his roommate, the original owner, moved out. Ferrell claimed that the cat exhibited aggressive behavior towards him and his ferrets, leading to the regrettable actions that followed.


Defense’s Argument


Tarkowsky articulated Ferrell's remorse, stating, "Speaking with my client, he does regret the actions in this case. Unfortunately, the roommate left, which resulted in my client kind of taking ownership of the cat. My client told me that the cat unfortunately had a poor disposition with him as well as his other animals. This ultimately led to him taking the actions which are obviously regrettable in this situation." Tarkowsky emphasized Ferrell's cooperation with law enforcement, his clean felony record, failing to mention the numerous misdemeanor convictions, instead focusing on his success on prior probation, portraying him as a suitable candidate for community control.


Prosecution’s Rebuttal


Prosecutor Tunnell, however, presented a completely different interpretation of Ferrell's actions and character. He highlighted Ferrell's extensive misdemeanor history, arguing that it demonstrated a pattern of poor judgment and criminal thinking. Tunnell meticulously detailed the sequence of events leading to the cat's death, emphasizing the deliberate and cruel nature of Ferrell's actions.


"The PSI notes significant prior criminal history, and while there are no felonies, there are many misdemeanor convictions. This highlights what the state sees as continued criminal thinking on behalf of this defendant," Tunnell argued. He recounted how Ferrell stomped on the cat with steel-toed boots, attempted to shoot it with a pellet gun, and then left it to die in a dumpster. The cat, found alive but in critical condition, had to be euthanized due to its injuries.


Judge’s Ruling


Judge Stimpert, delivering his judgment, echoed Tunnell’s sentiments, stating, "Mr. Ferrell, the presentence investigation statement that you gave might be one of the most incredible ones I have ever seen. It's simply impossible to believe this was an accident that occurred by you stepping on a cat in a dark room."


Judge Stimpert meticulously detailed the injuries sustained by the cat, including severe internal bleeding, bruised sternum fragments, and hyperthermia. He criticized Ferrell's lack of empathy and understanding of the severity of his actions, which he described as "beyond intentional."




Given the gravity of the offenses and Ferrell's apparent lack of remorse, Judge Stimpert sentenced him to 18 months in prison. This sentence reflects the seriousness with which the court viewed the crimes, particularly the deliberate cruelty inflicted upon the animal.

Cat House Feline Sanctuary Inc. Statement

The Cat House Feline Sanctuary, Inc. Released a statement after the sentencing, “We are very pleased with the sentencing for this case.  While nothing can bring the kitty back or reverse the suffering it was subjected to, we feel justice has been served.  It is good to see the maximum jail time for the offense was given.  The statements of both Prosecutor Tunnell and Judge Stimpert show that our elected officials take seriously the needless abuse the kitty suffered.  We hope the public seeing the outcome and the penalty will help deter it from ever happening again.”




This case serves as a stark reminder of the legal responsibilities and ethical duties involved in animal care. It underscores the importance of humane treatment of animals and the severe consequences of failing to uphold these standards. Ferrell's sentence is a significant Ashland County statement on the judiciary’s stance against animal cruelty and the unlawful possession of dangerous weapons.


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