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Maryland Gazette CapitalGazette.com
Fri Jul 19, 2013.
By ZOE READ firstname.lastname@example.org
A Pasadena man was given one year of supervised probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to five counts of animal cruelty for hoarding more than 40 domestic and wild animals at his home last year.
Shane Taylor, 21, was trying to act as a rescuer for the animals, his lawyer told Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul Hackner. But he became overwhelmed, and was not able to provide enough food and shelter for them.
“He was working hard to rescue animals. He would get calls from rescue centers saying, ‘Can you place this animal?’ It was a transitional place. But it got beyond his control,” lawyer Elizabeth Palan said.
Taylor was charged with 134 counts of animal cruelty in October after county Animal Control officers raided his home Aug. 31 and Sept. 27. The aspiring veterinarian said he was operating a rescue facility out of his home.
He planned to nurse the animals back to health and find each a home. When Animal Control officers arrived, Taylor was very upset and explained to them that he was on anti-depressants.
“I did take one too many,” Taylor said of the animals. “But I had volunteers. I had neighbors helping me. A lot found homes.”
Animal Control confiscated turtles, snakes, pigs, goats, birds and other animals. An albino python and a red boa constrictor were emaciated and lethargic from a lack of food and water, and a third snake had to be euthanized. Two turtles found had rotted shells and also had not been fed.
Hackner said Taylor clearly didn’t intend to harm the animals, and said animal neglect would be a more accurate charge than animal cruelty. He agreed that Taylor was overwhelmed with too many animals while suffering from depression.
Hackner ordered Taylor to continue taking his medications and seeing his therapist. He allowed him no more than one pet in his home, but said he can work in an environment where there are animals such as a zoo or a farm.
“He’s not an affirmative danger to animals, but he cannot handle more than one at a time,” Hackner said. “You shouldn’t have had the number of animals to begin with. And you would need a license to be an animal rescuer.”
Since he was charged, Taylor has not been allowed to be around animals.
Animal Control still has five animals confiscated from Taylor’s home, and four of them — three birds and a dog — are his personal pets. One of the parrots has been in the family as long as 30 years. Taylor hasn’t been allowed to visit them.
“It’s killing me,” Taylor said.
He said he looks forward to being able to seeing his pets again, especially his dog Kaleb.
“I miss my family pets more than anything,” he said. “I look forward to hugging my dog again.”