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Police: Clarion Man Breaks into Apartment, Attempts to Choke Out Dog for Barking

Thursday, October 14, 2021 @ 12:10 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

Police,Car,Lights,At,Night,City,Street.,Red,And,BlueCLARION TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A Clarion man is behind bars after he allegedly broke into his neighbor’s apartment and attempted to choke out her dog because it “wouldn’t stop barking.”

Court documents indicate the Clarion-based State Police filed criminal charges against 26-year-old Michael John Bell.

According to a criminal complaint, on Saturday, October 9, Clarion-based State Police were dispatched to a residence on Fraternity Drive in Clarion after a known victim reported she discovered blood on the front door of the residence when she arrived home.

When police arrived at the residence, they observed a trail of blood on the cement leading up a wooden staircase to the victim’s apartment. Police found fresh blood on the front door and doorknob of the apartment door, which was open, with the door jam and frame broken inward. There was also a trail of blood that led through the entryway of the residence to a rear bedroom and blood on the bedroom door handle, the complaint indicates.

When police interviewed the victim, she reported that she noticed the blood on her door when she arrived home. She then entered her apartment and noticed that her dog was locked in her bedroom when it had not been locked in the room when she left.

The victim told police that she had locked the door to her apartment when she had left.

According to the complaint, police then followed the trail of blood leading from the victim’s apartment to another apartment on the lower floor of the building where police found blood on the outside portion of the doorknob.

Police then contacted Clarion County 9-1-1 and were informed that Michael John Bell, who resides in the lower-floor apartment, was transported from his residence earlier that day due to dog bite wounds, and he was admitted to Clarion Hospital.

Police then went to Clarion Hospital to speak to Bell.

According to the complaint, when asked how he was injured, Bell told police that the new tenant who had moved in above him had a dog that “wouldn’t stop barking.” Bell reportedly said he “got angry,” went upstairs, and knocked; however, no one answered. He attempted to open the door, but it was locked, so he then forced the door open by striking it with his shoulder.

Bell reported that after he gained entry to the apartment, he found the dog on a couch in the living room, and he yelled at it to “shut up.” He reported that he picked the dog up, and it then bit him. He told police he then locked the dog in a rear bedroom of the apartment and went back to his apartment, where he called 9-1-1, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Bell had lacerations on his hand consistent with a dog bite.

After being discharged from Clarion Hospital, Bell was taken into custody by police. He was then questioned about his intentions when he entered the victim’s apartment, and he reportedly told police that when he picked the dog up, he squeezed it. He related that he attempted to choke out the dog, the complaint states.

Police then made contact with Clarion County District Attorney Drew Welsh who approved the charges against Bell, according to the complaint.

Bell was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Jarah Lee Heeter at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 9, on the following charges:

– Burglary – Overnight Accommodation, No Person Present, Felony 1
– Criminal Trespass-Break Into Structure, Felony 2
– Cruelty to Animals, Misdemeanor 2
– Criminal Mischief – Damage Property, Misdemeanor 3

Unable to post $25,000.00 monetary bail, he was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, with Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn presiding.


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