Monday, February 29, 2016

Maryland: Lorraine Gibson, 68, put on probation and banned from owning pets for 3 years after she violated her probation on the original animal cruelty charge

MARYLAND -- A Westminster woman has been banned from owning pets after she was found guilty of failing to provide acceptable conditions for six puppies.

Lorraine Arlean Gibson, 68, of 3046 Birdview Road, was found guilty Monday by Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Fred Hecker of violating her probation from a previous animal-related charge.

Hecker sentenced Gibson to 60 days in jail, then suspended all but 11 days, which she had already served. He also placed her on three years unsupervised probation with the condition that she not own any animals during that time.

Hecker warned Gibson that if she was found to have any animals during her three years probation, he would not hesitate to reinstate the remaining 49 days of her suspended sentence.

"I think the only way to keep the animals safe is to prohibit you from having any animals," Hecker told her.

Sorry, but is that really a threat to a hoarder? 49 days??? 

Gibson was placed on probation in June after she was found guilty of not licensing two dogs. One of her conditions was that she would have assessment visits by Animal Control, which would determine if her animals were kept in safe conditions.

Approximately a month later, on July 7, Animal Control visited her house and found loose dogs, a crated goose and six puppies in two different crates, according to Animal Control Officer George Keiner during his testimony Monday

Carroll County code says pet owners must provide animals with water in a container that cannot be knocked over, space and air, which was not the case at Gibson's home, Assistant State's Attorney Courtney Colonese told the court.

Two puppies were crated in a cage covered in feces and urine and no water as the puppies had knocked over the water bowl, Keiner said.

Keiner, who was considered an expert by the court, told Hecker that he knew it was urine and feces due to recognizing the smell from his 14 years of experience.

"It takes your breath away. Horrible odor," Keiner said on the stand.

Gibson's lawyer, Thomas Nugent, and Gibson both told the court that the crate's bottom was covered in cardboard and cat litter, not fecal matter and urine.

The other four puppies were put in an 8-by-10-inch kennel in the shade, but lacked any water. Gibson told the court that she mixed the water and the food together due to having a broken leg. Once the puppies ate all the food-water combination, she told the court she did not provide any more.

Gibson told Hecker she was doing the "best I could" to take care of her farm and animals while she was dealing with a broken leg.

Gibson was found guilty in the Carroll County District Court in June of failing to license two dogs. After Animal Control visited her home on July 7, she was found to be in violation of her probation by District Court Judge Brian Green.

Gibson appealed his decision, sending the case to the Carroll County Circuit Court Monday.

(Carroll County Times - Feb 29, 2016)