A Maryland woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for animal cruelty after police found 27 dead dogs inside her rental property last year.
A judge this week referred to the residence, which was covered in layers of sewage sludge and filled with decaying dog remains, as a “chamber of horrors.”
What are the details?
According to the Carroll County Times, 56-year-old Laura Filler was sentenced to serve 33 years, with all but seven years and seven days suspended, for 11 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.
“I’m very sorry all this happened,” Filler said before Judge Fred S. Hecker issued the sentence.
Filler had reportedly pleaded guilty to 11 charges last October after being originally charged with 109 counts. Her husband, 50-year-old John Roberts, also pleaded guilty in the case. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison, suspending all but 11 years and 11 days.
The couple was arrested in April 2019 for operating an unlicensed dog breeding operation when animal control officers found 38 dogs, 11 of them dead, at their rental property on 4300 Black Rock Road in Hampstead. When they returned days later, they discovered an additional 15 dogs found dead locked in a shed and one other dead dog inside the residence.
According to officials at the Humane Society of Carroll County, 27 dogs — consisting of 20 Dalmatians, 5 Golden Retrievers, and 2 English Setters — were found alive and rescued from the residence.
Here’s more from the local outlet:
Melissa Hockensmith, senior assistant state’s attorney for Carroll County, showed in court Tuesday two videos of the house on April 8, 2019, after the living dogs had been removed by first responders. Hecker described the videos as depicting a “chamber of horrors.” Sludge covered the ground and was smeared on the walls from floor to ceiling, grime clung to dog crates and moldy dog food was littered throughout the house. Decaying remains filled the bathtub, Hockensmith said, and the remains of some dogs were also found in a shed on the property, she said.
Shortly after the search and rescue, the Humane Society of Carroll County reported that the 27 rescued dogs “getting the care that they need and are doing well.”
According to Patch.com, the 27 deceased dogs were memorialized in a funeral service last year and their ashes were laid to rest at the Baltimore Humane Society’s pet cemetery.
In addition to the jail time, Filler was ordered to pay $10,900 in restitution to the Humane Society of Carroll County and $91,400 to the company that owned her rental property. It has since been demolished.
Humane Society Remembers 27 Dogs Found Dead In Carroll County In April With Funeral