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Alleged animal hoarder to appear in Harford court

Alleged animal hoarder to appear in Harford court 

Jun 27, 2007 
by Matthew Santoni, The Baltimore Examiner
Harford County (M , News) – The Harford County woman accused of hoarding more than 100 animals in her two homes last year will have her day in court Thursday after pleading not guilty to 118 counts of animal cruelty. 

Donna Bell, 60, was arrested in May 2006 after deputies investigating complaints of bad odors wafting from two properties she owned in Whiteford discovered 70 dogs and four cats living in squalor, without adequate food and water, sharing space with the carcasses of another 44 animals. 

Police investigating the complaints “could smell the odor 10 feet away from the residence,” according to the charging documents. “It became very evident that the smell came from the several dogs that came jumping and leaping at the rear door … a symphony of dogs began to bark.” 

Animal control officers found animal urine and feces between 3 inches and 3 feet deep throughout two homes and a garage owned by Bell. Windows were covered with boards, plastic or flies. Rather than spend the money to clean and bring the homes back up to the Health Department’s code, Bell had the houses demolished. 
The Harford County Humane Society became swamped with animals ? but an outpouring of volunteers and veterinarians helped the sickly, starving pets recover, and all were placed with adoptive families. 

Many volunteers also became adopters,” Humane Society Executive Director Tammy Zaluzney said.Bell’s lawyer, Leonard Shapiro of Owings Mills, said her alleged animal-hoarding behavior was a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. not criminally responsible for herBell was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as a condition of her trial’s postponement, but Assistant State’s Attorney Cristin Treaster said she could not discuss the outcome of that evaluation because it was confidential health information.”She was dust so scared that anytime someone would call her up and ask her if she could take a animal, [and] if she didn’t, they would be put to death. She couldn’t say no,” he said in September, when Bell pleaded actions. 

The case will be heard beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Harford County District Court in Bel Air.