Thursday, February 13, 1986

Florida: Deborah Schneider, 34, pleads no contest to animal cruelty; ordered to surrender her dog

FLORIDA -- A Davie woman who said she loves animals has been ordered to give up her $600 dog, which prosecutors say almost died because of her neglect.

Deborah Ruth Schneider (aka Debbie Schneider), 34, of the 3500 block of Southwest 60th Avenue, pleaded no contest on Wednesday to a charge of animal cruelty. But she denied starving or not caring for Princess, her white female mixed shepherd.

"I didn't think the charge was fair, but if I went to trial and lost, it would have been jail -- no ifs, ands or buts," she said.

Prosecutors, however, said the charge was justified.

"(The dog) needed constant attention and it wasn't given," said Assistant State Attorney Mark E. Berman. "Its ribs were showing through from being severely malnourished, and it [was so full of internal parasites that it] had progressed to the point where it was endangering the dog's life."

Berman said the dog also had a broken right front leg when found on Nov. 25 by Broward sheriff's deputies who followed up a tip.

Facing one year in jail or a fine of up to $5,000, Schneider negotiated a sentence imposed by Broward County Judge Paul L. Backman in Hollywood.

The sentence includes a $100 fine and $91 in court costs and the option of either repaying the Broward County Animal Control Division $250 for boarding the dog or working 50 hours at its shelter. Schneider said she will pay the $250.

Ann Crevasse, a county animal control specialist, said the dog weighed 30 pounds when seized. It weighs 55 pounds today.

Crevasse said the county will give the dog to the Broward Animal Protective League to find a home.

"The dog jumps all over you and licks your face. She's a super dog," she said. "She should go to a home with a lot of children. She's a kids' dog."

(Sun Sentinel - February 13, 1986)