An Oklahoma County judge sentenced a Spencer man to seven years behind bars in an animal cruelty case related to dogfighting.
Casper Ingram, 46, was sentenced Wednesday in Judge Ray Elliott’s courtroom.
“We’re grateful that the court ran the sentences concurrent to one another giving the chance at life,” said Billy Coyle, Ingram’s attorney.
Ingram was taken into custody in February 2020 after 24 dogs were discovered on his property along with items related to dog fighting.
According to investigators, seven of the 24 dogs recovered had to be euthanized due to their aggressive behavior.
In April 2020, Ingram pleaded guilty to 19 counts of animal cruelty, one count of keeping a place, equipment or facility for training dogs for dogfighting and one count of owning, possessing, keeping or training dogs for fighting.
Ingram claims the dogs on his property belonged to a friend of his named “Wiz” but could not identify the individual further.
“Casper Ingram took responsibility,” Coyle said. “He didn’t mean to hurt these dogs. These dogs weren’t under his direct care but sometimes in life you have to be fully aware of your surroundings.”
Local nonprofit Mutt Misfits cared for the rescued dogs once Ingram released custody to a local animal shelter.
Heather Hernandez, Mutt Misfits president and founder, said she’s torn by the judge’s sentencing.
“There is nothing and no amount of time behind bars that can bring back those animals that were killed,” Hernandez said. “Those animals that were neglected, they can’t get their lives back. I wish it was longer (but) seven years is better than nothing.”
A 4-year-old pit bull named Lucy is among the 24 dogs rescued from Ingram’s property. Lucy is the only dog left from Ingram’s property waiting to find her forever home.
“Yes, we have a little bit of justice, not quite as much as we hope, but our job is not over,” said Hernandez. “There are more things like this happening than we know.”
If you’d like to adopt Lucy, contact Mutt Misfits on Facebook.
Ingram’s wife, Celeste, was also charged in the incident. A judge handed down a seven-year deferred sentence to her with fines in April.