Columbia Woman Cleared of 69 Animal Abuse and Neglect Charges

Howard County Animal Abuse and Neglect Charges Filed

Elizabeth M. Lindenau of Columbia, Maryland was charged in Howard County with 69 counts of animal abuse and neglect, and animal cruelty charges. The accusations arose out of 20 birds, rabbits and cats found deceased in a townhouse leased to Ms. Lindenau and her husband.

Prosecutors presented a plea offer insisting that the accused plead guilty to numerous felony and misdemeanor animal abuse, animal neglect, and animal cruelty charges, and serve time in jail. Howard County criminal lawyer Jonathan Scott Smith represented Ms. Lindenau, rejected the plea offer, and demanded her day in court.

What is Animal Abuse and Neglect?

Under Maryland law, a person may not: (1) overdrive or overload an animal; (2) deprive an animal of necessary sustenance; (3) inflict unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal; (4) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1), (2), or (3); or (5) if the person has charge or custody of an animal, as owner or otherwise, unnecessarily fail to provide the animal with nutritious food in sufficient quantity, necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather.

The crime is a misdemeanor, and the penalty is imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.

What is Animal Cruelty?

Under Maryland law, a person may not: (1) intentionally mutilate, torture, cruelly beat, or cruelly kill an animal; (2) cause, procure, or authorize an act prohibited under item (1); or (3) except in the case of self-defense, intentionally inflict bodily harm, permanent disability, or death on an animal owned or used by a law enforcement unit.
Animal cruelty is a felony, and on conviction a person is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

Judge Acquits Woman Accused of Animal Cruelty Charges

On August 22, 2012, the trial began in the Circuit Court for Howard County before Judge Louis A. Becker and a jury. The judge acquitted Ms. Lindenau of all animal cruelty charges, finding that there was no evidence that she was aware that the animals were suffering. Additional animal abuse and neglect charges were thrown out for lack of evidence.

Jury Returns Not Guilty Verdicts on All Animal Neglect Charges

Ms. Lindenau presented substantial evidence that she had moved from the townhouse where the animals died months before. After 11 days of testimony, the jury found her not guilty of the 18 remaining charges of animal neglect. After the verdict, Ms. Lindenau stated: “I am relieved that the jury was willing to listen to the facts, and see past the emotional nature of this tragedy… I loved all of the animals, and it broke my heart that they died.”

Maryland Criminal Defense and Animal Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

Mr. Smith is a top rated attorney and former prosecutor with more than 30 years of extensive trial experience. Attorney Smith has handled thousands of criminal cases in the local courts, including animal abuse and neglect, and animal cruelty charges. With a solid and longstanding reputation for personal service and thorough preparation, we get many of our new cases as referrals from existing or former clients, or from other attorneys. Mr. Smith fights hard for his clients. That’s why many satisfied clients think so highly of him.

Top Rated Howard County, Columbia, and Ellicott City Criminal Lawyer

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience — and track record of successful results in criminal cases— has earned him the recognition of his peers, with an AV® Preeminent™* Peer Review Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, and a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating. These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Attorney Smith is considered to be one of the best criminal lawyers in Howard County.

Contact Our Office

To schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contact us online or call us at 410-740-0101. Put the skill and experience of a former prosecutor to fight for you. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith represents clients in criminal defense matters, DUI / DWI, MVA Hearings, traffic offensesdomestic violence and child abuse charges throughout Maryland, including the cities of Columbia, Clarksville, Sykesville, Fulton, Elkridge, Frederick, Mt. Airy, Ellicott City, Laurel, Westminster, and Baltimore. Lawyer Smith also provides experienced legal representation for clients in Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Prince Georges (Prince George) County, Howard County and Montgomery County, MD.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

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