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Woman sentenced for animal cruelty

March 21, 2001

Woman sentenced for animal cruelty



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

An Allegany County, Md., woman convicted of animal cruelty for allowing nine cats to die in her Security Road garage in 1999 was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County District Court to perform 50 hours of community service at an animal shelter.

Denise Tweedale, 49, now of Cumberland, was also forbidden by Judge Ralph France to have any pets in any home in which she resides for the next two years.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Michele Flores pushed for that sanction because, she said, Tweedale now has three cats and four dogs.

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France imposed a 90-day jail sentence, but suspended all but the eight days Tweedale spent in jail when she was first charged.

The fine was $400.

Also Tuesday, France sentenced Tweedale on two bad check convictions, suspending jail sentences, levying $200 more in fines and $417 restitution to County Market.

Flores pointed out that Tweedale, a registered nurse, has a criminal history of bad checks dating back 10 years. In all of those cases, no jail time was given.

"I was out of control ... it was a bad period in my life," Tweedale said.

Flores said whenever Tweedale was sentenced to community service, she would move. When she wrote more bad checks, she failed to appear in court.

As to the animal cruelty charge, Flores said Tweedale lived on Security Road in September 1999 and had numerous cats in her garage and her home. She moved out Dec. 12, 1999, and the next day, the cats were found dead.

Defense attorney George W. Knight said Tweedale has spent several days in jail.

"She's in counseling," Knight said. "And she's paying for everything in cash now."

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