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Animal cruelty charges added in Gridley case

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 9:11 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — BLOOMINGTON — A rural McLean County man faces new felony charges related to more than 60 cats and a dozen dogs found dead by police responding to a domestic call Nov. 4 at his home near Gridley.

Animal rescue advocates reacted Monday to the two counts of animal cruelty filed against Curtis Cleary.

“We are very pleased the state’s attorney’s office has taken this case seriously and recognized the severity of the alleged crime by filing Class 4 felonies as opposed to misdemeanors,” said Marion Willetts, with Kickapoo Animal Rescue Alliance.

Cleary was arrested after a domestic dispute with a woman at his home that allegedly included him firing a handgun at her several times as she called 911.

McLean County Sheriff’s Department investigators found the animals in the basement of the house and in several rooms of a barn on the property. Authorities believe the animals starved.

Cleary, 30, is charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card. He was released after posting $5,625.

On Monday, Cleary signed an agreement to turn over a 63-pound pit bull found on the property to county animal control. The shelter may try to place the animal with another shelter or a suitable home for adoption, according to the court order.

Willetts said advocates would prefer to see the dog taken to a no-kill shelter. She said she and others have offered to take the dog.

Farm animals, including several horses, pigs and goats, have been moved to another location since the incident, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Cleary is due back in court Dec. 14.

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