By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– Superior Court Judge Tomberlin found Defendant Mary Ryan guilty of animal control laws after nearly two days of courtroom testimony. After a trial where both the Town and Ryan presented evidence and testimony of several witnesses, Ryan was found guilty of violating Apple Valley Municipal Code sections 15.01.125 (“Dog Limits”) and 15.01.040 (“Disposition of Dead Animals”). The Court has consistently issued rulings in favor of the Town’s actions following the issuance of a court warrant that led to the seizure of 27 dogs and three deceased puppies from Ryan’s rented home in October 2013.
In October, Ryan possessed 27 dogs, far in excess of the maximum four dogs permitted under the Town’s Municipal Code. The Town had charged Ryan with 27 counts of exceeding the dog limits and 3 counts of disposition of dead animals. The Court determined that the 27 dogs only established a single count of exceeding the limit of 4 dogs in a single-family residential home, however found that each deceased animal established a single and separate violation totaling three counts.
The Court specifically found that all of the 27 dogs located and seized by the Town’s Animal Control officers were illegally on Ryan’s property, and her method of disposing of 3 deceased puppies by placing them in a freezer was not proper “disposition” under the code, but rather a method of “storage.” Therefore, the Defendant was found guilty of all charges, but received a reduction in the number of counts per charge.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge denied a request by Ryan’s attorney to return the dogs to his client. Ryan identifies herself as the operator of German Shepherd Angels Rescue. Court documents prohibit Ryan and all of her agents, aiders, abettors, or related entities acting on her behalf from selling or rescuing dogs in the Town of Apple Valley.
Dogs seized from Ryan’s home in early October were transferred on February 16th to a partnering animal rescue organization in compliance with state laws. More than 11 volunteers and staff provided a caravan to transfer and transport all of the animals in one day. “These dogs had been kenneled since early October, and we wanted them to begin their journey into permanent loving homes as quickly as possible,” said Gina Schwin-Whiteside, Animal Services Manager. “The rescue is paying to have the dogs spayed/neutered and providing any necessary training to make them adoptable.”