Karissa L. Beers

Karissa L. Beers

A Titusville area woman is going to jail for letting a dog starve to death inside a locked cage at her then-Titusville apartment last August.

Karissa Leann Beers was sentenced Tuesday in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to serve three to 24 months less one day in the county jail by President Judge Anthony Vardaro. Beers was given 22 days credit for pre-sentence jail time and ordered to pay a $200 fine and court costs.

Beers, 25, of 11606 Hydetown Road pleaded no contest to cruelty to animals in county court in June rather than go to trial. Titusville Police Department filed the cruelty to animals charge against Beers last September. The charge, a second-degree misdemeanor, had a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

In pleading no contest, a person does not admit guilt but agrees there is enough evidence to convict if a trial were held. A no contest plea has the same effect for sentencing purposes as pleading guilty.

"I am very sorry for what did happen to that animal," Beers told Vardaro. "I want to move on with my life."

Beers told Vardaro she had drug issues and was clean of opiates. Beers also admitted she had used methamphetamine but "recreationally, not every day."

Questioned by Vardaro about the dog being found deceased inside a locked cage, Beers said, "I don't understand how it ended up in there."

State sentencing guidelines called for Beers to receive a probationary sentence based on Beers' prior record of only a summary level retail theft charge in Erie County.

Vardaro sentenced Beers' within the aggravated range due to the circumstances.

Vardaro called the facts in the case "particularly disturbing" as the dog's corpse was found inside a locked cage without food and water.

The dog's remains were found decomposed under a sheet inside the locked cage at Beers' then-apartment on Aug. 27, 2018, Paula DiGiacomo, first assistant district attorney, told Vardaro. Beers was scheduled to have a final walk-through of her apartment with her landlord days earlier — on Aug. 23, 2018 — but canceled it at the last minute, DiGiacomo said.

DiGiacomo told the judge that Beers also had missed previous court appearances in connection with the case and bench warrants had to be issued by the court.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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