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Va. woman charged with animal cruelty

August 03, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Virginia woman was charged Monday with animal cruelty in connection with a case involving numerous reptiles and birds left inside a mobile home without food or water.

Angela Christine Acampora, 25, of Prospect, Va., also was charged in an unrelated matter with writing two worthless checks. She was being held in Eastern Regional Jail on $2,500 bail.

The animal cruelty complaint was investigated by several officers with Berkeley County Animal Control and the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

According to paperwork filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, Animal Control officers received a call from Acampora's husband's employer, who said several exotic animals were inside a Falling Waters, W.Va., mobile home without food and water.

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Animal Control Officer Donna McMahan and Chief Brad Sheppard went to the home on Postal Drive on May 14. When they looked through windows they could see three ferrets, four lizards and two fish tanks, records say.

A neighbor told the officers that nobody had been at the home in more than a week and that more animals were inside than what could be seen from peering into windows, records state.

Four days later, on May 18, officers returned to see if anyone had taken care of the animals. They again looked through windows and saw the ferrets' bowl overturned, as it had been earlier.

A neighbor said nobody had been to the trailer since the beginning of May, records state.

Later that day a search warrant was obtained and officers returned. Inside they found and seized 31 animals, including a snakehead - which was destroyed - cockatiels, a hedgehog, a snake and fish.

None of the animals had food or water, records allege.

Acampora called Animal Control on May 19, asking why the animals had been taken, records state. She said she was in Florida for a "legal emergency" and that she had only been gone for a week, records say. She said a friend was to take care of the animals in her absence, records say.

An Animal Control officer responded that the animals had obviously been neglected for more than a week, records state.

The animals were taken to a local pet shop for care.

Conviction on a charge of animal cruelty carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $100 to $1,000.

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