Jury finds dog owner not guilty of neglectThe latest round of litigation for LeRoy Sorg ended in a clear win Wednesday for the Superior man.
By: Maria Lockwood, The Daily Telegram
The latest round of litigation for LeRoy Sorg ended in a clear win Wednesday for the Superior man.
A jury of 12 found Sorg, 65, not guilty of five counts of intentionally failing to provide proper shelter and water for his animals — three Rottweiler dogs and five puppies — in early August. The jury reached their decision at 5:30 p.m., less than an hour after going into deliberations following the day-long trial.
The verdict enables Sorg to reclaim the dogs, which have been held at the Animal Rescue Federation shelter since August.
The healthy puppies were adopted out, but three had to be euthanized, according to Sheila Love, ARF manager. Nothing in the case file indicates whether the shelter will be reimbursed boarding fees for the dogs.
Sorg, who is a former Foxboro resident, has a history of court proceedings dating back nearly 10 years, according to court records found on the Internet. The bulk of Sorg’s cases deal with property issues such as failing to keep property free of refuse and storing too many inoperable vehicles on his property. Sprinkled among the cases are a number dealing with animals, however.
In 2001, Sorg pleaded no contest to intentionally failing to provide food for his dogs at his Foxboro property on Dedham Road. Judge Joseph McDonald ordered that Sorg could own only one dog until November 2006. Judge George Glonek found Sorg in contempt of that order in 2005 and ordered the man to spend 10 days in jail unless he disposed of all but one dog.
Sorg pleaded no contest to another charge of intentionally failing to provide food for his dogs in 2006. Part of the sentence included paying $200 restitution to the Humane Society of Douglas County, which was boarding his dog until the case was decided, and allowing law enforcement to conduct monthly checks to monitor how Sorg cares for his animals.
The most recent charges were a result of one of those checks by Superior Community Service Officer Chris Wagner, who deals with animal complaints.
Wednesday’s verdict marks the first time a court trial has favored the Superior man. Court trials in 2005 and 2003 ended with Sorg being found liable for placing a mobile home without a permit and two counts of storing inoperable vehicles, respectively.
At a court trial in 2006 Sorg was found liable for operating a waste facility without a license, unlawful dredging and filling in of wetlands and adversely impacting wetlands with solid waste operations. While he still owns the property, it is set to be auctioned off in a sheriff’s sale in March because Sorg has defied court orders to clean up the site.
“The state really has tried hard to work with Mr. Sorg to get the property cleaned up,” said Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson, who prosecuted the case. “Taking the property from him certainly wasn’t our first choice.”
Sorg was given multiple deadlines to clean up the site, she said, “and he hasn’t met any of them.”
Now a resident of East End, Sorg is facing more property-based charges. He has February hearing dates for two separate violations of failing to keep his property on East First Street free of refuse.
“What we really want to do is bring him into compliance,” said Dan Hawkin, code compliance officer for the city of Superior. Hawkin said the city hauled away two semi trailer loads of collected junk out of Sorg’s 25-foot lot in July.
“Since then, he’s been much better,” the code compliance officer said.
The property was condemned, Hawkin said, but Sorg currently has building permits out to improve conditions at the site. The charges are not meant to inundate Sorg with fines, the code compliance officer said.
“It is our intent to get him to clean up, keep his property up to city standards,” Hawkin said.
Maria Lockwood is available at email@example.com or call (715) 395-5025.