A Kilmichael woman was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after In Defense of Animals received reports of her Pitbull lacked adequate basic necessities.
Shirley Davidson went before Judge Larry Bamberg Tuesday morning in Montgomery County Justice Court. Davidson pled not guilty to the charge.
In Defense of Animals Director Doll Stanley testified before the judge that she received a text message of the dog’s condition. She said the dog, that she renamed Sabrina, was chained with only the cover of an old air conditioner to keep her warm.
Stanley said she contacted the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department but the deputy was busy, so she went to the home on Maude Davidson Road, located just outside the Kilmichael City Limits. She said when she pulled into the driveway, another vehicle pulled her behind her. She said the person identified herself as Davidson’s mother. She said the two spoke and Davidson’s mother gave Stanley her daughter’s number.
Stanley said when she saw the dog, she initially thought the dog was dying.
“She wasn’t just shivering, she was quaking she was so cold,” she said.
Stanley said the dog was surrounded by feces, didn’t have any free movement, and no water. She said she spoke to Davidson on the phone but it “got nowhere.”
“She was adamant that her dog had proper shelter,” Stanley said.
Davidson said she left a dog house with the elder Davidson, but the daughter still didn’t comply so she and Deputy Jay Bennett got a seizure order and took possession of the dog.
She said after the dog was seized, she filed criminal charges against Davidson.
Stanley said the continence of the dog has completely changed since she’s been removed from Davidson’s care.
Davidson said she told Stanley that her dog did have shelter, water and food.
“She said my dog had been deprived of food and water, but it had not been deprived. My mother feeds the dog when I’m not there because I work and then when I get home I feed the dog. She told me the air conditioner hub was not suitable, and I told her that I was going to get a dog house,” Davidson said. “She asked me if I wanted to keep my dog, and I told her yes.”
Judge Bamberg asked Davidson, “Why do you want a dog?”
“Well, it’s not my dog. I got the dog for my son, and we’ve had the dog since February,” Davidson said.
Bamberg continued, “You said the dog had two containers for water and two containers for food. You know the dog needs water in those containers right.”
“The dog did have water, she probably drank it before then,” Davidson said.
Bamberg informed Davidson that the air conditioner covering was not sufficient as shelter to protect the dog from rain and cold.
Following testimony in the hearing, Bamberg found Davidson guilty of animal cruelty.
“By the pictures, that dog hadn’t been moved in a long time,” Bamberg said. “There’s a new law that makes what you did aggravated animal cruelty which makes it a felony, and I don’t know why you haven’t been charged with it. But, someone has graciously charged you with a misdemeanor, and I’d advise you to get out of the dog business because if you treated another animal as you’ve done this one, you’ll be charged with a felony. Now you’re on the radar screen and they’re going to be watching you.”
Bamberg handed down the maximum fine of $1,000 to Davidson, and she must pay court fees and restitution to In Defense of Animals for the seizure.