dog_cruelty1011.jpgSubmitted photo

Casper, a boxer, is pictured in 2006 with a large wound on his head. A Monmouth woman was found guilty of cruel treatment of animals during a trial Thursday in Monmouth.

Woman found guilty of animal cruelty

Thin, wounded boxer found at woman's home

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

MONMOUTH - Brenda Stokes and her family hugged outside the Warren County courtroom Wednesday after a jury found her guilty of cruel treatment of animals.

"It's going to be OK," said Stokes, 54, to family and friends.

The jury took about an hour to find her guilty of the class A misdemeanor.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21. Stokes faces up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Monmouth police discovered the boxer dog Casper on May 16, 2006, thin and with a large wound on his head.

"It was very much a struggle because we all empathize with her," said Mary Ann Davis, a juror. "I don't think she intended to cause any harm to the dog."

She said the jury had a long discussion over whether or not Davis was guilty, because they understood her position of working two jobs and taking care of the boxer. Davis went on to say the jurors felt they had to find Stokes guilty because of the lack of care she had given the dog.

"I'm sure the jury made the best decision they could with the evidence presented to them," said Stokes' attorney, Thomas Siegel.

During Siegel's closing arguments he said that while Stokes had not taken the dog to a veterinarian, she had done her best to feed the dog and give it water. He also said that while Stokes owns the house at 819 S. 7th St. where the dog was staying on May 16, Casper actually belongs to Stokes' son, Jay Stokes, 25.

Cary Stokes, Brenda's other son, corroborated her story that both he and his mother had fed the dog and given it water approximately three times a day. He also said that while he and his mother both agreed that the dog was thin, they did not see any signs that would make them take it to a veterinarian. Cary said his brother had said he was going to take the boxer to a vet. Cary also said he bought salve for the head wound.

"I was happy, obviously, they came back with a guilty verdict," said state prosecutor Charles Zalar. "I don't know that she intended to harm the dog, but I think she did by not taking it to the vet or giving it medical attention."

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