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Animal cruelty charges against woman adding up

August 19, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

A woman charged with keeping more than 30 exotic animals inside a mobile home without food or water turned herself in earlier this week and was charged with 30 additional counts of animal cruelty.

Angela Christine Acampora, 25, was charged on Aug. 2 with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. When she did not appear in Berkeley County Magistrate Court last week for a preliminary hearing, Berkeley County Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Henline asked that a warrant be issued for Acampora's arrest.

On Monday morning, Acampora turned herself in and was arraigned on the 30 additional charges of animal cruelty. Henline said Acampora told him she did not receive notice in the mail of the earlier hearing.

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A preliminary hearing was rescheduled for Sept. 27 and Acampora's bail was increased from $2,500 to $50,000, which she posted.

Several of the animals seized from a trailer in Falling Waters, W.Va., on May 18 have since died, said Animal Control Officer Donna McMahan.

Animals that died included several fish, two sea urchins, two sea anemones, two hermit crabs, a lizard, a tree frog and an emperor scorpion.

Animals that survived include an albino hedgehog, ferrets, cockatiels, a boa constrictor, an alligator gar and several species of fish and lizards. The surviving animals are being cared for by a local pet store.

A snakehead fish, which is a threat to ecosystems, was killed by Animal Control officers.

Although 32 animals were seized, 31 charges of animal cruelty were filed. Henline said Acampora may not have been charged in connection with the snakehead because it had to be killed.

Legal custody of the animals was transferred from Acampora to the county, meaning the surviving animals can be placed in homes.

Acampora previously told Animal Control officers that she was in Florida for a "legal emergency" and that she had only been gone for a week when the animals were seized. She said a friend was to take care of the animals in her absence.

Two unrelated charges of writing worthless checks also have been filed against Acampora. One of those is a felony charge because the amount totaled more than $500.

Conviction on a charge of animal cruelty carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of $300 to $1,000.

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