NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) – A judge dismissed and dropped charges of animal cruelty against the owner of a dog kennel in Newport News.
Rick Tvelia faced animal cruelty charges after two dogs died at Coastal Dog Services last summer. He was on trial Wednesday.
At the start of the trial, the city attorney nolle prossed all charges against Coastal Dog Services, the business, before any evidence was presented.
In the June 23rd case involving the death of a Labrador Retriever named “Bruce”, the defense made a motion to strike the evidence. The judge granted the motion dismissing that case.
The judge told the city attorney Tvelia is not liable for criminal negligence of another employee. The judge also said the city attorney did not establish that Tvelia was a ‘boarding establishment' and could not prove Tvelia was the owner of the business.
In the August 26th case involving the death of “Fenway”, the city attorney moved to nolle prosequi. The judge granted that motion, removing those charges from the docket.
In October, a former kennel manager at Costal Dog Services, Jennifer Lewis, was found guilty of animal cruelty.
The judge determined Lewis didn't meet adequate care requirements, which could have prevented the deadly attack.
Fenway’s owner, Jason Fox, said he plans to have his attorney contact the city attorney's office and try to find out what's the next step to get those charges refiled against Rick Tvelia and Coastal Dog Services in regards to Fenway's case.
“It's a bit frustrating, it's not what we were looking for but it's part of the process,” Fox said. “We haven't started our trial with Fenway so I have nothing to be discouraged about besides the outcome of Bruce.”