WINCHESTER — After initially being charged with 21 counts of animal cruelty, a Frederick County woman who ran an animal rescue shelter out of her home entered into a plea agreement and will instead be charged with five counts of inadequate animal care.
The plea agreement for Tammy Smith Barr was reached Friday in Frederick General District Court when she entered an Alford plea of guilt. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain he or she is not guilty while admitting the state has enough evidence for a probable conviction.
Barr, 58, of 231 Gun Barrel Lane, was charged with 21 counts of animal cruelty in July after the shelter based out of her home was damaged by fire. No one was injured in the fire and the charges against Barr were based on the condition of some of the puppies and adult dogs rescued during the fire.
“There were hoarding conditions all through the house as well as dog urine and feces covering the floor all over the house,” Deputy Michelle R. Kitts of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a criminal complaint. “The odor of urine and feces overpowered the odor of the house fire.”
Oreo’s Rescue Legacy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit group, operated out of her home.
This isn’t the first time Barr has been in court for inadequate animal care. In November, she was convicted of inadequate animal care and three counts of dogs running at large.
As a result of the plea agreement, Barr was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation. Per the agreement, Barr may only have the four dogs that she personally owns and is not allowed to have any more animals of any kind. The dogs she is permitted to keep must be registered and maintained with up-to-date vaccines.
The agreement also states that Barr must not operate or participate in any kind of animal rescue organization during her probation. She is also not allowed to breed dogs during that three-year period. She is also giving away her fourth amendment right to search and seizure during the probation, as well as waving the right to appeal the charges of inadequate animal care.
She also has six months to pay off a total fine of $500 for the reduced charges, according to the terms of the agreement.
Should Barr violate the conditions of her plea agreement, she could face up to 30 months of jail time and more fines.
In July, Barr told The Star she typically had six dogs in her home, but there had been about 20 in her home for about two weeks because the adopted dogs were returned by the people who formerly adopted them. When the fire happened, Barr said she was in the process of finding new homes for the returned dogs.