CHARLES CITY COUNTY, VA (WWBT) – A search warrant affidavit shows the items seized from Petersburg firefighter, Ronald Hartman's home which led to his 52 animal cruelty charges. Hartman told us Tuesday he was only selling dog food from his residence but animal control officers found more than that there.
The Commonwealth's Attorney at the Charles City County Courthouse wouldn't speak with us on camera but a search warrant explains more. The basis for the cruelty charges is not stated but the county's development planner, John Bragg, is quoted in the warrant saying "Mr. Hartman has been operating a commercial kennel without a special use permit for about 10 years. He had over 150 hunting dogs on his property…..Hartman however was denied a special use permit for a commercial kennel in…. 2000."
While Hartman denied having dogs to us, officers seized rabies vaccination certificates, bank books, a transaction register, Crackerjack Kennels inventory and his computer as evidence against him.
We even found several online postings, advertising Crackerjack Kennels. One of them, with Hartman's name and phone number, says, "I've been handling dogs for 30 years." According to Virginia state code animal cruelty is a class 1 misdemeanor. Each charge is punishable for up to a year in jail and or a $2,500 fine. As of Monday, Hartman was still employed as a firefighter by the City of Petersburg.