Man pleads guilty to animal torture charges

A man charged with animal torture and criminal mischief in Ballard County has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Judge Tim Langford ruled Edward Ream’s trial as a mistrial last month because of an error in jury selection. Langford was supposed to set another trial date Friday. Instead, Ream’s lawyer filed a motion for diversion.

The motion for diversion does not mean Ream will spend time in jail right now. If the judge accepts the motion for diversion, Ream will have to live within certain parameters. Those include not having anything outside his home that would entice an animal and checking in with a parole officer. The two attorneys in the case both say this case is coming to an end.

Ream pushed his case to the bottom of the docket for more time to consider his options. His lawyer, Jeremy Ian Smith, said Ream changed his mind last minute and wanted to plead guilty, admitting to using antifreeze to poison dogs. Ream was facing 10 years in prison, but Smith says Ream wanted to avoid a trial.

"Obviously, it’s scary for someone who doesn’t have any kind of criminal history, but there’s no way around that," says Smith.

But Ream’s legal process isn’t finished yet. He’ll be back in court next month for sentencing.

Commonwealth Attorney Michael Stacy said all five victims and a veterinarian supported the plea because they wanted to hear Ream admit to his crimes. They’re satisfied they could bring justice to the pets they lost at the hands of their neighbor.

"I think it’s a point that they can put behind them and start remembering their pets the way they want to instead of what happened to them," Stacy says.

Stacy and Smith say no dogs have been reported poisoned since Ream’s arrest. He will be in court again Jan. 15 for sentencing.

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