BREAKING: James Lemley, Ashley Lemley : Teacher and Wife Found Guilty of Animal Cruelty After Dog Found Dead

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : VAN BUREN — A Van Buren School District teacher and his wife have recently been found guilty of misdemeanor cruelty to animals charges. This verdict came after a distressing incident that took place last summer, where police discovered one dog deceased and another suffering from overheating at their residence.

James Lemley, 42, and Ashley Lemley, 37, both residents of Van Buren, were each sentenced to one day in jail following their trial in Crawford County District Court on November 29. Additionally, they were ordered to pay fines and court costs amounting to $640 for each count of cruelty to animals.

The arrest of the Lemleys took place on July 17, as stated in a report from the Van Buren Police Department. However, they pleaded not guilty on July 25, according to court records.

As of today, James Lemley is still listed as a teacher at Northridge Middle School in Van Buren. He is also mentioned as the varsity boys golf coach on the Van Buren High School athletics website, as of August 15.

In response to the incident, Brittany Ransom, the communications and media consultant for the Van Buren School District, released a statement clarifying that the district is aware of the situation involving a staff member who has recently been convicted on animal cruelty charges. Due to privacy laws regarding personnel matters, the district refrained from making further comments.

The police report states that on June 25, an officer was dispatched to a residence on Valley View Street following a complaint made by a concerned neighbor. The neighbor reported that the Lemleys had been neglecting their two dogs in the backyard. She had been providing water for the dogs over the last four days, but unfortunately, one of them had already passed away. The neighbor’s father confirmed that he had last seen the Lemleys going outside around four days prior, but they did not tend to the dogs.

Upon entering the yard, the officer discovered a poorly maintained chain-link dog pen without any form of covering, shelter, or shade, despite the intense sunlight and temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The officer also found a deceased Great Pyrenees dog, which appeared to have sought shade against a wooden structure before succumbing to the heat. Another dog, a chocolate Labrador retriever, was found struggling to breathe and extremely overheated while attempting to find shade in a plastic dog house that was poorly positioned. The dog’s tongue was severely engorged and dry.

Although no one was present at the residence, the Lemleys were identified as the owners of the dogs. Another officer from Van Buren Animal Control had previously dealt with the dogs after they repeatedly escaped from the pen.

Following the trial, the court order outlined certain conditions that, if met, could result in the suspension of $890 in fines and court costs for the Lemleys. These conditions include surrendering the Labrador to Almost Home Shelter and Rescue in Van Buren for adoption, paying $818 to cover the veterinary bills incurred by Almost Home up to the date of the trial, and refraining from adopting or owning any animals for one year. The court also stated that the Lemleys may request to have their convictions sealed after a year if they comply with these conditions.

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