Local woman faces animal cruelty, related charges

Posted: February 5, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A local woman who signed over 20 dogs and four cats to the city animal shelter last month has been charged.

Elizabeth Marie Grady Bell, 34, of Winchester, was served Saturday with warrants for one count of failing to license a dog, four counts of animal cruelty, four counts of failing to provide animals a clean shelter and one count of failing to vaccinate an animal.

Most of the pets — found Jan. 9 by city police to be living in poor conditions in the woman’s apartment on Bellview Avenue — were adopted at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Winchester and Frederick and Clarke Counties.

Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Lauren Cummings previously said law enforcement officials received a call for a welfare check of the animals, which led Animal Control Officer Andrea Enke to Bell’s apartment.

The residence smelled of dog feces and ammonia from urine, and four of the animals had medical problems that required treatment.

All of the dogs are Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes, and two were pregnant.

Margo Bach, interim director of the local SPCA, said that one of the dogs and six of her puppies would be available for adoption within seven to eight weeks.

She added that there are two cats left from the incident still available for adoption — one is 6 months old and the other is an adult.

Bell is set for a hearing on charges related to the incident at 11 a.m. Feb. 25 in Winchester General District Court.

According to online records, Bell was charged in 2011 with seven counts of animal cruelty but found not guilty on all charges.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com