Man Sentenced for West Side Dog Hanging

Local News

UPDATE: 10/24/2018 2:50 P.M.

John Davante “Tay” Copening Jr. has been sentenced for animal cruelty and wanton endangerment charges. 

He was arrested for of hanging a female pitbull on Charleston’s West Side back in April. 

He is sentenced to one to five years in prison for the Animal Cruelty charge and six months for the wanton endangerment charge. The judge says he will serve the sentences consecutively.

Copening will be getting credit for time served.

Once he is out of prison he is not allowed to own an animal or live with someone who owns an animal for 20 years.

UPDATE: 4/11/2018 5:35 P.M.

A man wanted in connection to an animal cruelty case where a dog was found hanging in a tree on Charleston’s West Side has turned himself in.

According to the Charleston Police Department, John Davante Copening is in custody.

UPDATE: 4/5/2018 4:40 P.M.

The Charleston Police Department have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect wanted in connection to an animal cruelty case where a dog was found hanging in a tree on Charleston’s West Side. 

Police have identified John Davante Copening as the suspect.

They also say that Jimi Bonner, identified as a witness, is cooperating with police. 

UPDATE: 4/5/2018 3:16 P.M.

Officers with the Charleston Police Department have released the name and a photograph of a man wanted for questioning as a material witness in connection to the case of a dog found hanging in a tree on Tuesday.

Jimi Bonner, 42, of Park Avenue in Charleston is being sought by police.

Bonner is 6’1″, and weighs approximately 180 lbs, according to a news release sent Thursday.

Officers said there are currently no arrest warrants for Bonner.

If you have any information as to where Bonner is located, you’re asked to contact officers with the Charleston Police Department at 304-348-8111.


Charleston Police say they are searching for a person of interest after a dog was hanged by a heavy chain along a walking path.

The path is over the railroad tracks near the intersection of Hunt Avenue and Madison Street. 

Witnesses told police that they heard a dog yelping at around 7:30 PM on Tuesday. April 3rd, 2018. They say they saw the dog hanging and called 911

Police say the dog, a female pit bull, was taken down from the tree, removed from the scene, and taken to the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association where a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Officers were able to get surveillance video from a nearby home. The video shows a man walking onto tracks with the dog and then walking off the tracks without the dog.

At this time, a suspect has not been identified and no arrest have been made.

Police say that another dog was found with burns in the same area last week. Officers say they are not sure if the cases are related.

On Thursday, March 29th, 2018, a call was made for a dog running loose with something tied around its waist.

A humane officer located the brown and white male pit bull, which had what appeared to be blue self-adhesive medical wrap tied around its waist.

Patches of the dog’s fur were missing and in those areas of missing hair there appeared to be scabbing of old wounds.

The humane officer secured the dog and transported it to the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association for treatment.

The owner of the dog has not been confirmed at this time, and no charges have been filed in this incident.

The Charleston Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding these two incidents or who knows the identity of the dogs’ owners is encouraged to call the Charleston Police Department at 304-348-8111. Information can provided anonymously.

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