CLEVELAND -- Dozens rallied on Public Square Monday morning on the first day of April, which is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month.
But there is another reason.
The man accused of shooting a bull mastiff and leaving it for dead in a Cleveland Heights park went on trial Monday in U.S. District Court on federal firearms charges. Today's trial is not for what prosecutors say he did to a bull mastiff back in November.
Federal officials say Raymone "Ramone" Clements, 42, of Cleveland, is charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition, something not allowed by his previous convictions.
Clements is a convicted felon and is not permitted to have a weapon. Court records show Clements has five aliases and began his criminal career at the age of 18, being convicted of receiving stolen property.
He failed to show for his first court appearance back in 1988 and was arrested on a warrant. Clements has 17 cases that he has been involved in. His last prison term, after he pleaded guilty in 2006 to rape against victims who were under 13, was five years. He left prison in 2011.
In this case, Clements was found to have one round of .357-caliber ammunition and two rounds of .22-caliber ammunition on Dec. 20, 2012, despite previous convictions in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for rape (2006), drug trafficking (2003) and aggravated robbery (1991), according to the indictment.
But the story began back in November when Clements was accused of tying the bull mastiff -- now named "Forrest" -- to a tree in Cleveland Heights Nov. 25, then shooting the dog, leaving him for dead.
Dog walker Dee Shedlow found the mastiff dog early Nov. 26 and the PAWS Ohio rescue group took care of him. Forest was emaciated, weighing only 70 pounds. Forest, now recovered, is now living in a loving home with Robin Stone in Solon. In that incident, Clements has been charged with animal cruelty, discharging a weapon in city limits and having weapons under disability.
If convicted on all counts, Clements faces 5 years and 7 and a half months in prison.