Attorney steps down in animal abuse case
WINCHESTER — Russell L. Ebersole, who is charged with animal cruelty, appeared Wednesday for the first time since being indicted Nov. 8 in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Ebersole, who owns Aberdeen Acres Pet Care Center in Stephenson, faces 13 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
Court documents allege that Ebersole choked, beat, kicked and tortured several dogs in his care.
He has denied the allegations.
Lawrence P. Vance — a Winchester attorney at Buchbauer & McGuire PC — appeared Wednesday as counsel for Ebersole, but informed the court that he had recently learned his law firm had a conflict in the case and that he could no longer represent him.
Ebersole has until 9 a.m. Dec. 21 — his next scheduled court appearance — to find a new attorney.
The pet care center owner has been under investigation for animal cruelty since August 2011, when two former employees filed a complaint about the use of abusive training practices.
According to its website, Aberdeen Acres is a grooming, training and boarding facility that specializes in basic obedience, agility, protection and service dog training.
It is unclear if the alleged abuse took place at the pet center.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at firstname.lastname@example.org