Woman Cleared of 69 Charges of Animal Abuse and Neglect

A 40-year old fitness instructor was indicted by a Howard County Grand Jury and charged with 69 counts of felony and misdemeanor animal abuse, neglect, and cruelty arising out of deaths of 20 animals in a home rented to her. After being retained, Mr. Smith contacted the prosecutors assigned to prosecute the case. Based upon the evidence then known, he questioned the basis for the State going forward with the prosecution. The prosecutors were adamant that the client was guilty, and the case was going forward. Mr. Smith then began to prepare a vigorous defense.

Police officers had entered the client’s home without consent and without a search and seizure warrant. Mr. Smith filed a motion to suppress evidence, maintaining that the police entry was unconstitutional and any observations or evidence could not be used. The court granted the motion to suppress, arising out of the police officers’ illegal warrantless entry into home. Nine charges were dismissed before trial.

The remaining charges proceeded to trial before a jury. During the trial, Mr. Smith maintained that the prosecution had failed to present legally sufficient evidence of the client’s guilt of many of the charges. The trial judgeagreed, and granted motions for judgment of acquittal (i. e. verdicts of not guilty) regarding 22 counts during trial.

Mr. Smith presented a substantial defense, calling numerous witnesses, including an expert veterinarian. After a 12-day trial, the jury found the client not guilty of all remaining 18 charges. The successful defense resulted in the client being cleared of all 69 felony and misdemeanor criminal charges.

Note – Every case is different. Our past record is no assurance that we will be successful in reaching a similar, or favorable, result in any future case.


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

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101