York judge: House arrest for ex-Hallam man who beat his dog bloody

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A man who beat his dog bloody with an expandable baton in his Hallam garage in 2019 has been sentenced to house arrest after pleading guilty to a felony animal cruelty charge.

John Mark Emery, 28, now of the Red Lion area, lost ownership of both the dog he beat and a second dog, according to Hellam Township Police Sgt. Justin Golder.

That's because Emery agreed to a conditional contract with the rescue organization where he adopted the dogs, which stated that if abused them the rescue could legally take them back, according to Golder.

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Emery appeared in York County Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to the most serious charge against him — the third-degree felony of aggravated animal cruelty causing serious bodily injury or death.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to three months' house arrest and ordered to pay court costs, according to court records.

John Mark Emery

Also as part of the agreement, a charge of making false reports was dropped.

Golder initially filed that misdemeanor charge because Emery had falsely claimed he didn't know where the dog was and that it must have run away, according to charging documents.

The background: A witness called police about 9:25 p.m. July 24, 2019, to report seeing Emery in his garage, beating one of his dogs with an expandable baton.

At the time, Emery lived in the 400 block of Leaman Lane.

Golder responded within about five minutes but found nothing, he wrote in charging documents, adding it was dark outside and there were no noises.

But when he walked up to Emery's front door, he could hear moaning or whimpering coming from inside, documents state.

Golder told Emery he'd like to check on the well being of the man's dogs, and Emery brought a German shepherd outside that appeared unhurt when Golder examined it, police said.

When Golder asked to see the other dog, Emery claimed "Archer" was out back. The men walked back to where Archer was supposedly being held in a fenced-in area, but the yard was empty, documents state.

Emery called out for Archer, then said the dog must have run away, according to court documents, which state he didn't seem concerned about it.

However, he became agitated at the prospect of allowing officers to go into his house, police said.

Search warrant obtained: Golder was able to secure a search warrant and returned to Emery's home about 12:15 a.m. — less than three hours after he received the initial call to respond there, documents state.

With assistance from Lower Windsor Township Police officers, Emery found Archer in a bathroom.

"It appeared that Emery had tried to wash the dog in the tub," Golder wrote in charging documents.

Drops of blood could be seen scattered in the bathroom as if Archer shook after being washed off. Archer had a large cut on the top of his head, as well as swelling, police said.

Officers then found and seized a black metal expandable baton in Emery's bedroom that appeared to have been thrown onto a pile of clothing on the floor, documents state.

Golder arrested Emery, who then "immediately" claimed Archer tried to bite him, according to documents.

The sergeant took both dogs into emergency custody and drove them to an emergency animal hospital for treatment.

Concussion? A veterinarian at that facility later told Golder that Archer had multiple bruises and appeared to be suffering from symptoms of a concussion, according to charging documents.

In addition to filing criminal charges, Golder also sought to have Emery's ownership of the dogs forfeited, police said.

Golder told The York Dispatch on Wednesday that the rescue organization where Emery had adopted the dogs had the legal right to take them back because Emery violated a contract he'd signed with the rescue agreeing not to abuse or neglect the animals.

Neither Emery nor his defense attorney, Andrew Ziegler, immediately returned messages seeking comment Wednesday.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.