Man Charged After Starved Dog Found Dead in Condemned Oil City Home Waives Hearing

| June 1, 2023

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – The case against a 30-year-old man who allegedly left his pit bull to starve–and eventually die–in a condemned Oil City home was waived for court on Wednesday.

According to court documents, the following charges against 30-year-old Cody Montana Whitmore, of Atlantic, Pa., moved forward in court during a preliminary hearing in Venango County Central Court in front of Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland:

– Aggravated Cruelty to Animals – Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death, Felony 3
– Neglect of Animals – Tethering, Misdemeanor 3
– Cruelty to Animals, Misdemeanor 2

The case has been transferred to the Venango County Court of Common Pleas.

He remains free on $7,500.00 unsecured bail.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint released by Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey’s office on May 22, the investigation was initiated after a known woman contacted Sgt. Ryan E. Williams of the Venango County Sheriff’s Office regarding a deceased starved dog found in an abandoned house at 615 Bissell Avenue in Oil City.

Sgt. Williams also serves as a Human Officer for the County of Venango.

Whitmore, the owner of the dog, lived at the residence until it was condemned by Oil City Code Enforcement.

According to the complaint, the woman showed Sgt. Williams pictures of the deceased dog (a pit bull named “JJ”) and numerous text messages, including one from Whitmore stating that he “F*cked up when JJ died.”

The woman also emailed Sgt. Williams a picture of the deceased dog lying in a pile of garbage inside the residence.

Based on this evidence, a search warrant was granted for 615 Bissell Avenue.

Upon arrival at the abandoned residence, law enforcement observed a condemned sign on the door.

“The residence was in complete disarray and was filled with garbage and clutter,” said Sgt. Williams in the complaint.

“The conditions in the home made it uninhabitable for people or animals.”

Sgt. Williams said the officers on scene could smell the distinct odor of a decaying animal.

“We discovered a deceased dog lying in the hallway and doorway of the bedroom,” said Sgt. Williams in the complaint.

Sgt. Williams said the dog was covered by a blanket and appeared to be emaciated with its ribs and backbone protruding underneath the skin.

Whitmore was interviewed by Sgt. Williams and Chief Deputy Merle Glesey on May 8 at his Atlantic, Pa. home.

According to the complaint, Whitmore said he moved out of his Bissell Avenue residence in January 2023. He said there was no running water at the home and the furnace stopped working around December 25.

The complaint also states indicates Whitmore confirmed that JJ was his dog and he found JJ deceased sometime in mid-January.

Whitmore said the dog died after it ate chemicals inside the house but stated that he could not prove it.

According to the complaint, Whitmore told the investigators that “the dog had trouble gaining wait and he fed it, but it was always skinny.”

Whitmore told police that he ordered food online from and then later started getting it from Walmart.

When the investigators asked Whitmore when he last ordered food from Chewy, he accessed his account and provided a date of August 22, 2022.

He also admitted that he had not taken the dog for veterinary care, according to the complaint.

Sgt. Williams confronted Whitmore about having a “dog living in an abandoned house with no heat or running water in filthy and unsanitary conditions” and told him that he believed the dog starved to death.

Whitmore responded by saying “I f*cked up,” according to the complaint.

On May 9, an Oil City Code Enforcement Officer confirmed that the water at 615 Bissell Avenue was shut off on January 25, 2023. The officer said the house appeared to be vacant and abandoned when she posted condemned notices on February 7.
On May 12, Sgt. Williams showed pictures of the deceased dog to veterinarian at the Franklin Animal Clinic. The veterinarian examined the photos and said it was apparent that the dog had been in need of veterinary care prior to its demise.

“The emaciated condition of the corpse made the veterinarian believe that either the dog had not been fed properly, or had a condition that should have been recognized by the owner and treated by a veterinarian,” according to the complaint.

Whitmore was arraigned on May 19 by Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey.

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Category: Local News, News, Police & Fire Calls

Jacob Deemer is a reporter for EYT Media Group, who is based out of Venango County. He started his career as a sports writer for a local newspaper before contributing to as a beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has spent over 6 years covering sports, crime, and local news in Venango, Clarion, and Jefferson Counties.
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