Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Jury convicts man of cruelty for stomping, punching dog

- By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@pottsmerc.com

A Cheltenham man was convicted of animal cruelty charges after witnesses reported to police that he punched and stomped on the dog in the yard of his home, placing the dog at imminent risk of injury.

Carlton F. Gayle, 40, of the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue, was convicted during a nonjury trial in Montgomery County Court of a misdemeano­r charge of cruelty to animals in connection with incidents that occurred between October and November 2022.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who rendered the verdict, specifical­ly found that Gayle intentiona­lly, knowingly or recklessly ill-treated, beat or abused his dog Judah and that the violation placed the dog at imminent risk of serious bodily injury.

The judge also convicted Gayle of a summary charge of not properly licensing the dog.

O’Neill deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete a background investigat­ion report about Gayle, who remains free on bail pending sentencing.

Gayle faces a possible maximum sentence of one to two years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines could allow for a lesser sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Hughes and co-prosecutor Hannah Victor handled the case. Defense lawyer Richard P. Coble represente­d Gayle during the court proceeding­s.

Officials said the mastiff dog was removed from Gayle’s possession.

An investigat­ion began on Nov. 8, 2022, when a Montgomery County SPCA humane society police officer contacted police to report she had received a complaint from a citizen regarding the mistreatme­nt of a dog by Gayle.

The reporting citizen showed the humane society officer a video, filmed on Oct. 7, 2022, that depicted Gayle walking toward the side yard of his home and “picking up his dog by the neck and collar and then proceeds to forcefully slam the dog toward the ground into a central air conditione­r unit for his house,” according to a criminal complaint filed by Cheltenham Detective Ronald Cupo.

“He then knelt down and punched the dog five times. Gayle yelled for the dog to stand up. He then again grabbed the dog by what appears to be the neck and picked him up. The dog is heard yelping at this point,” Cupo alleged in the criminal complaint, adding Gayle continued to yell at the dog to stand up.

A fence obstructed the view of what occurred next, “but the dog is yelping, leading me to believe that the dog is experienci­ng pain,” Cupo alleged.

On Nov. 10, police received a call from an individual who said Gayle “was stomping on the dog at the rear of the yard.”

“The dog was again heard yelping as if in pain. This was witnessed by at least two individual­s,” Cupo alleged.

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