By Alex Bridges
WINCHESTER -- A woman accused of hoarding 200 cats in her Frederick County trailer this spring tearfully pleaded guilty Tuesday to committing animal cruelty.
Linda Levea McLaughlin, 59, formerly of 211-37 Forest Lake Drive, Stephens City, appeared in Frederick County General District Court with her attorney, Paul Thomson, and she entered a guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
The judge then sentenced McLaughlin in accordance with a plea agreement reached between Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ross Spicer and Thomson. Whitacre sentenced her to 360 days in jail and suspended the term in its entirety. The judge ordered her to serve three years of unsupervised probation and to pay court costs.
No fines were imposed with the sentence, nor did authorities ask the judge to order her pay restitution.
A special term of her probation forbids her from owning more than one cat or any other domesticated animal during that time, the judge explained to the defendant. In addition, McLaughlin must inform Deputy Meghan Moreland, an animal control officer with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, or her successor, of her place of residence during that time, according to the judge..." More
Oct 10, 2009: Woman will plead guilty in cat hoarding, cruelty case
Agreement allows McLaughlin to avoid jail after more than 200 felines were found in trailer
By Alex Bridges
WINCHESTER -- A woman accused of hoarding cats in her Frederick County trailer will plead guilty to committing animal cruelty, a law enforcement officer familiar with the case said Tuesday.
Linda Levea McLaughlin, 59, formerly of 211-37 Forest Lake Drive, Stephens City, was scheduled to appear in Frederick County General District Court on Tuesday for an adjudicatory hearing on one count of cruelty to animals.
Prior to the hearing, the commonwealth and her attorney, Paul Thomson, had reached an agreement that would allow McLaughlin to avoid jail time in exchange for her guilty plea to the class 1 misdemeanor charge.
Deputy Megan Moreland, an animal control officer for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, had been one of several people subpoenaed to testify at the hearing. Outside the courtroom, Moreland explained that both sides had reached a plea agreement. McLaughlin would plead guilty to the single count she faced but under the agreement would serve no jail time, Moreland said. In addition, she would not be required to pay any fines that otherwise would have been ordered, she said.
But for the next three years, McLaughlin would not be allowed to own more than one cat, as a condition of her probation, Moreland said..." More
July 28, 2009: Woman in court of cruelty count
More than half of rescued cats have died since May 13 seizure by law enforcement
By Alex Bridges
WINCHESTER -- More than 120 of the nearly 200 cats rescued in Frederick County in May have since died, and the woman accused of hoarding the felines faces an animal cruelty charge.
Linda Levea McLaughlin, 58, of 211-37 Forest Lake Drive, Stephens City, appeared Monday before Judge David S. Whitacre in Frederick County General District Court. Authorities charged her with the class 1 misdemeanor offense of animal cruelty.
Frederick County deputies rescued 193 live cats and found several carcasses in an initial search on May 13. They trapped several more in the following days and took all the animals to the Esther Boyd Animal Shelter. County building inspectors also declared the trailer unfit for habitation.
"I've been homeless since all of this occurred," McLaughlin said through tears, adding she had not been back to the area until the hearing.
The defendant said she wanted the court to appoint an attorney to represent her. Whitacre set a preliminary hearing date in McLaughlin's case for Oct. 6..." More