Tabari Leteef Hayes

Man gets prison for animal abuse

A man who left behind the bodies of two dogs in a Medford motel bathroom will serve more than a year in prison.

Tabari Leteef Hayes, 39, pleaded no-contest Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to aggravated animal abuse for leaving two pitbulls that had died from neglect inside a motel room weeks before he moved out, according to a release issued by the Jackson County District Attorney's Office. While not an admission of guilt, a no-contest plea has the same legal consequences as a guilty plea.

On Sept. 21, painters found the bodies of two severely malnourished dogs inside the bathroom of a motel room at 500 N. Riverside Ave. There was no sign of food or water in the confined space, and the room was heavily soiled with urine and feces. 

Hayes, who had been evicted after living in the motel room for about three years, told police the dogs had stopped moving roughly two weeks before motel staff found them. Hayes denied to police that the dogs belonged to him, though he admitted he knowingly left them in the bathroom and kept them there.

Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe sentenced Hayes to 15 months in prison on two felony counts of aggravated first-degree animal abuse, followed by 3 years of probation. Hayes was ordered not to own any animals for five years.

Hayes also pleaded guilty to a felony count of felon in possession of a firearm stemming from a July 22, 2017, incident on Highway 62 in which Oregon State Police troopers found a shotgun resting on his car seat while they assisted him at the side of the road.

Court records show Hayes had a felony conviction for delivering methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school in 2005. Hayes was charged with a felony count of assaulting a police officer in 2014, but ultimately pleaded to misdemeanor counts of interfering with police and fourth-degree assault.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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