MANSFIELD -- It was a sign that perhaps Gerald Galloway had learned his lesson.
The Mansfield man walked up and down in front of the Mansfield Municipal Building for three hours on Thursday afternoon, wearing a sign that said he will never be cruel to animals.
The three hours of public penance was part of a plea-bargain Galloway struck with Municipal Court Judge Frank Ardis Jr. after being charged last fall with cruelty to animals, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Authorities had alleged Galloway had a large dog locked in a small cage for three days at his home. Ardis said the bottom of the cage had collected the dog's urine and feces and the water bowl was unclean.
"A neighbor called and stated there was a dog locked up at the (South Mulberry Street) house," Ardis said. "She pointed out the dog at the location and made contact with Mr. Galloway.
"It was small cage for a larger dog," Ardis said. "That is not the most comfortable space."
During a hearing Nov. 26, Galloway pleaded guilty to reduced charge of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. In exchange, Ardis gave the defendant a choice.
Galloway could go to jail for 30 days. Or he could serve one year of probation and spend three hours cleaning out kennels at the Richland County Dog Pound or spend three hours wearing a sign saying, 'I will never be cruel to animals' on the front and back of his body.
The 49-year-old chose to go public, walking up and down Park Avenue East from noon to 3 p.m.
Ardis said he likes to offer creative sentences when the law and circumstances allow.
"I didn't want to send him to jail, but at the same time, he needs to learn how to treat animals," said Ardis, who also fined Galloway $150.
"If you're going to take a dog in and you don't want to keep the dog, take it to the animal shelter or the dog pound. Don't put the dog in a little cage where he can't move. And don't put him in a cage filled with poop and pee. That's cruel to the dog in and of itself.
"I just wanted to teach him a lesson," the judge said.
Galloway was on his cell phone as he walked.
"It's good because a lot of people have stopped and talked to me," Galloway said. "We've talked about not being cruel to animals. It's sort of like a punishment for me, but I like animals and I don't mind doing this."