Two men have been charged with animal cruelty following an investigation by the Goshen Township Police Department and the Clermont County Humane Society.
Goshen officers worked closely with members of the community to track down Keegan L. Carney, 21, of Wayne Township and James P. Combs II, 23, of Maineville. Carney has pleaded not guilty on April 23 to four counts of animal cruelty and Combs pleaded not guilty on April 19 to three counts of animal cruelty and three counts of discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises.
Goshen Township Police Captain Bob Rose said the two have been linked to the deaths of seven cats, but are suspected to have killed several more.
Combs and Carney allegedly returned to the scene on April 6 and were spotted by the same woman placing live capture traps. Another community member followed the men as they again fled the scene until a responding officer was able to catch up to their vehicle. Rose said Combs and Carney had additional traps in their car when they were apprehended.
Rose said at least one of the seven cats was confirmed to be a pet, although at least one area resident has also reported a cat missing. He said the investigation has indicated that Combs allegedly shot one cat at the Country Lake Apartments and two cats near the Goshen Kroger store with a .22 caliber rifle in late March and early April. Carney allegedly trapped four cats in the area of the Melon Ridge Nursing Home.
Rose said the cats were taken to Carney's home where he skinned them while Combs watched.
"They told police they felt they were ridding society of 'pesky animals,'" Rose said.
The charges, while all misdemeanors, represent the possibility of almost a year of incarceration and $1,000 fines for both Carney and Combs if convicted. Both cases will be heard by Municipal Court Judge James Shriver.