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Sentence handed down in Wintersville animal abuse case

STEUBENVILLE — A man who admitted leaving three dogs, three cats and a gecko to die when he and his partner moved out of a Wintersville home earlier this year was sentenced this week to six months in Eastern Ohio Correctional Center.

Jason Aspinall, 31, pleaded guilty to three counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals.

In addition to his six months in EOCC, Aspinall also was ordered to spend 190 days in the Jefferson County Jail, though he was credited for 126 days he’s already served while awaiting trial.

He’s also banned for life from having pets.

The animals were discovered March 9 locked in a foreclosure in Wintersville after a man sent by the bank to change the locks heard barking and asked the county humane officer to do a welfare check.

The bodies of two of the dogs were found locked in their crates in an upstairs bedroom.

One of the cats was found on the floor near them, and the other two were crated in the basement.

Only one of the animals, a dog, survived.

Jason Aspinall and his partner, Michael, were taken into custody in McMechen, W.Va., in May, and the following month were each indicted on five felony counts of violating prohibitions concerning companion animals and one misdemeanor count of abandoning an animal.

Michael Aspinall, however, was found dead in his cell at the Jefferson County Jail July 24. Sheriff Fred Abdalla had said the “early indications are it was a heart attack, but we won’t know until the autopsy results” come back. As of Thursday, Abdalla said he hadn’t received the autopsy report.

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