Struthers animal cruelty suspect sentenced for dragging, slamming Niles woman
A Struthers man awaiting trial on animal cruelty charges in Mahoning County has been sentenced to prison for brutally beating a woman in Trumbull County.
A visiting judge has sentenced 29-year-old George Panno III to three to 4-and-a-half years in prison after Panno pleaded guilty to felonious assault, kidnapping, endangering children, and domestic violence.
According to a report filed by Niles Police, on April 22, a 26-year-old woman suffered a severe laceration at her Royal Mall apartment at the hands of Panno.
Witnesses told police that a knife-wielding Panno punched the woman, dragged her by the hair, and slammed her head on a concrete porch. The woman said Panno had choked her and bitten her ear.
Just three weeks after the assault in Niles, the Mahoning County Grand Jury handed up an indictment against Panno, accusing him of leading his dog into the woods and then shooting the animal.
The single count of animal cruelty stems from an incident that allegedly occurred on April 8 along South Bailey Road in Ellsworth Township where a man was seen walking his dog on a leash into a wooded area.
A woman and her daughter told deputies they heard three gunshots, then the man came out of the woods without the dog.
The witnesses say the man opened and closed the trunk of his car before driving away.
The woman followed the car and reported the license number to a dispatcher.
When deputies arrived, they say the car had returned to the area and they saw Panno coming out of the woods.
Deputies say Panno told them he had lost his dog and denied firing a weapon.
About fifty yards into the woods, Deputies found a pile of trash bags and twigs. Under the pile were the remains of a black dog that had been shot at least twice.
Deputies say after Panno gave confusing answers to their questions about why he was there, they read him his rights.
Investigators recovered a .40 caliber pistol as evidence.
Humane agents from Animal Charity took pictures of the dog who they say was named “Diesel”.
The indictment comes with a firearm specification which could add three years to any prison sentence if convicted.
The next court hearing in the animal cruelty case is scheduled for Thursday.