Bryans Road, MD — An animal hoarder charged with 48 counts of animal cruelty pleaded guilty to just two counts last Wednesday and received a paltry six month suspended sentence and two years of unsupervised probation with mandatory mental health counseling.
On July 23, 2010 sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers searched Joyce Ann Metzger’s home after neighbors complained about cats running loose. They found 22 cats and two dogs in various states of neglect. According to court papers, the floors inside the home were covered with “compacted filth” and piles of cat feces. The pets themselves were in bad shape. They were suffering from skin problems, various injuries, and malnourishment. None of the animals received proper vet care while under Metzger’s care. To make matters worse, many of the cats were housed outside in cages that were covered with a tarpaulin. According to court documents, the temperatures outside ranged from 90 to 93 degrees.
Metzger’s lawyer, Keith Krissoff, said that she did her best but she had a full time job and was suffering from depression at the time. He added that she has been receiving metal health counseling.
District Judge E. Gregory Wells, who sentenced Metzger said “I believe you’re probably a good person, but this behavior points to issues you have to deal with. He added that he felt comfortable with sentencing her to unsupervised probation because “I have a feeling the animal control people are going to be watching.”
Whatever the judge may be feeling, it remains to be seen whether mental health counseling and unsupervised probation will be enough to keep more animals from falling victim to Metzger and other “good people” like her.
Source: Southern Maryland Newspapers Online
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