About 100 people gathered at Public Square today to rally for lawmakers to make animal abuse a felony in Ohio.
The Rally for Reform was scheduled on the same day as a hearing for Ramone "Raymone" Clements, a Cleveland man accused of chaining a dog to a tree in a Cleveland Heights park and shooting him.
Clements pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, according to The Plain Dealer.
He is scheduled to appear in court next Monday afternoon. We'll have the lastest on the hearing as it's available.
The ammunition charge carries a greater sentence if Clements is convicted than his original animal cruelty charge, which was dropped after his federal indictment.
Animal rights activists have balked at the charges, arguing that Clements should face hard time for how he treated Forrest the dog, not because he possessed bullets.
"I feel that Forrest really handed [Clements] to them on a silver platter and now he’s not even a part of it," Robin Stone, who adopted the dog, said.
"If Clements hadn't already been a menace to society, he would be walking around potentially among Public Square with the rest of us slapped in the wrists with a $250 fine looking for another victim, whether it was another Herbie, another Forrest, another Henry or the many others," said one speaker at the rally.
Animal rights activist Dick Goddard spoke at the event, encouraging attendees to speak up for animals like Forrest.
"This guy is a screwball. He's a rapist. You know who's to blame? The judges," said Goddard. "We've got to get into the 21st century, with your help."
Clements, 42, of Cleveland, is not allowed to own guns or ammunitions because he has previous convictions in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for rape in 2006, drug trafficking in 2003 and aggravated robbery in 1991, according to his indictment.
He faces between 19 and 24 years in prison if he is convicted.
Though Clements was originally charged in local courts for animal cruelty and weapons charges, those charges were dropped in lieu of his federal prosecution.