A Saegertown man has pleaded no contest to charges he abandoned three dogs without food or water at his former apartment in western Crawford County for a week in January.

Joseph J. Bedford, 52, of 310 Grant St. entered no contest pleas Monday in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to one count each of cruelty to animals and neglect of animals before Judge Mark Stevens.

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.

Linesville Police Department had charged Bedford with three counts each of neglect of animals and cruelty to animals for failing to provide the animals with food and water in late January.

Bedford was scheduled to go on trial this month in county court on all six charges. On Monday, Bedford pleaded no contest to one count of neglect of animals, a third-degree misdemeanor, and one count of cruelty to animals, a second-degree misdemeanor, as part of a plea agreement with the Crawford County District Attorney's Office.

Bedford faces up to three years in jail and $7,000 in fines when he's sentenced by Stevens this fall.

Linesville police charged Bedford after officers saw three dogs inside 217 E. Erie St., a previous residence of Bedford's, on Jan. 22, according the arrest affidavit filed in the case. The affidavit said police noticed a lack of vehicular or foot traffic to the residence since at least Jan. 18 — the time of the most recent snowfall in the area.

A neighbor complained to the police about the dogs later on Jan. 22, saying no one had been to the residence in days to care for the dogs, the affidavit said. Police were aware the residence was without water service and were told it had no heat as well, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said borough police continued surveillance on the residence and saw no evidence of traffic in or out until Jan. 24. When authorities checked the residence Jan. 25, they found both human and canine footprints in the snow and no dogs or humans inside the residence, the affidavit said.

Bedford remains free on $5,000 unsecured bond as he awaits sentencing Oct. 24.

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

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