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Animal Cruelty Case

December 9th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports the  state rested its case late Tuesday morning in the court trial of Christopher Adam Preston, who is charged with numerous animal cruelty charges in connection with the death of nine dogs and the rescue of three young dogs — all found inside Preston’s residence on McGill Drive in the Bel Air subdivision in August.

At the close of the state’s case, defense attorney Stephen R. Tully was granted his motion to dismiss several aggravated animal cruelty charges against Preston. Judge Gary G. Leasure granted the motion to dismiss since no evidence was presented to show intentional action on the part of the defendant to deliberately harm the animals.

In the afternoon the case was expected to resume with witnesses called by Tully on behalf of his 29-year-old client on the remaining numerous animal cruelty charges. 

The state is represented by Assistant State’s Attorney Sam Lane, who called seven witnesses Tuesday morning. Neighbors of the Preston residence testified to the presence of the dogs that were seldom seen outside. They also spoke of the constant barking and foul smell emanating from the residence.

An Allegany County animal control officer testified to visiting the residence on Aug. 14, two days after he posted a notice on the door of the property for the owner to contact authorities. The officer returned after a 48-hour wait with no contact from the defendant and then observed a dead dog inside the residence as he looked through a window. A deputy of the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene and obtained authorization from his supervisor to enter the property.

One inside the Preston property at 14707 McGill Drive, officers found nine dead dogs and three lives dogs that required immediate emergency care from a veterinarian. The surviving dogs were suffering from dehydration, starvation and flea infestation, officials said.

The animal control officer described conditions inside the residence as “horrid.” Karl Brubaker, his supervisor and head of Allegany County Animal Control, described the conditions in the residence as “deplorable.”

The state also presented testimony from Dr. Erica Alt, a licensed veterinarian who testified as an expert witness in the case. Precise cause of death could not be determined in the necropsies of two of the deceased dogs.

Various exhibits were presented to the court that were entered as evidence, including photographs of the interior of the residence and a map showing the exact location where the deceased dogs were discovered.

Tuesday’s hearing included discussion of Tully’s contention that officials should have obtained a search warrant before having entered the Preston property

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