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False informing conviction reversed for Monrovia dog owner after attack on mini horse

December 20, 2018

A Monrovia man found guilty of failing to inform an officer that a dog who killed a mini horse was inside his home had his conviction reversed Thursday, with the Indiana Court of Appeals finding that the man's failure to provide any information about the whereabouts of the dog could not be considered false informing. 

In October 2017, Monrovia Town Marshal Kenneth Jackson visited a home in search of a pit bull that had been involved in a deadly attack on two miniature horses. The horse’s owner, Mac McCloud, discovered both of his pets lying on the ground, injured and bleeding, according to an RTV 6 report. One horse survived, sustaining stomach and leg injuries. The other died on the scene.

When Jackson entered the home, he found several people inside, including Daniel Cannon and a child. Cannon did not tell Jackson that the dog was inside the home’s garage, but the child pointed to the garage and Cannon ultimately retrieved the dog.

Cannon was thus charged with false informing and was convicted at a bench trial. On appeal, Cannon argued the state failed to present sufficient evidence to support the conviction under Indiana Code section 35-44.1-2-3(d).

The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with Cannon, finding the state failed to prove a violation of the statute.

“The State called Marshal Jackson, who testified that he spoke to Cannon at the house. The prosecutor asked, ‘Did he indicate to you where that dog was that day?’ Marshal Jackson answered, ‘No,’” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the court. “The prosecutor then asked, ‘Did he indicate to you that the dog was in the house that day?’ … Marshal Jackson answered, ‘No.’”

“According to the State’s own evidence, Cannon did not give Marshal Jackson any information, let alone false information,” Vaidik continued. “As such, his conviction for false informing cannot stand.”

The appellate court further stated in a footnote that the state is barred by principles of double jeopardy from retrying Cannon. The case is Daniel Cannon v. State of Indiana,18A-CR-1871.

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