Dog attack charges dismissed, new charges likely next week

Dog owner's charges dismissed (WDTN- Beairshelle Edmé)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Only 2 NEWS was at Clark County Municipal Court when Robert Rife appeared in court to face three misdemeanor charges for a pit bull attack of a 3-year-old boy.

According to officials, Rife was intoxicated when he let children pet his dog; 3-year-old Rickey Preston was severely mauled.

2 NEWS caught up with Preston and his family Tuesday, after a visit to Dayton Children’s.

His grandmother and doctors said he’s making progress, after 200 stitches were removed

Given official’s fact, why is the dog’s owner not facing the original charges in this case?

Springfield’s Chief Prosecutors Marc Ross told 2 NEWS the case is being dismissed so that he can re-file the charges as a 4th degree misdemeanor, which would carry a tougher penalty.

Officials said that his previous criminal history with animals is why they’re seeking higher level charges.

When 2 NEWS did some digging, we found in 2012 Rife pled guilty to charges of confining a dog and animal cruelty, and those weren’t his first offenses.

Prosecutors hope these charges will stop the dog owner once and for all.

“The court certainly can put certain restrictions on Mr. Rife. Probationary sentence with the re-filed charges could be community services. There also I believe in the statue is provisions that allow the court to impose mandatory dog obedience training– could possibly put restrictions on his ownership or handling of animals in the future,” said Ross.

The Springfield Prosecutor’s Office plans to file the new charges as early as next week. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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