Case No. 1572586, 1572589 – Michael L.
Michael was living with an aunt whose mental and physical illnesses led to dangerous and unhealthy living conditions – including 15 poorly cared for dogs and cats living inside the house. When 911 was called after she had a seizure, Michael was charged with two counts of Cruelty to Animals. They alleged that since he lived there, and the aunt was ill, he was responsible for their care.  Although his paychecks were mailed to that address we proved by records and testimony that Michael was not, technically, “living in the home”, that he was not the owner of the animals, and that he had never agreed to accept responsibility for their care.  His aunt had not been proven incompetent – which would have absolved her of a responsibility devolving onto Michael, the next oldest adult in the household.  We further presented extensive testimony that, despite his lack of true responsibility for the poor animals, he had nevertheless made many efforts to provide sufficient food and care for the animals – although not enough to make them really healthy – which also helped us obtain these Dismissals.