Trial Delayed for Casper Woman Who Allegedly Hoarded Animals
A Casper woman charged with 81 counts related to dozens of animals recovered in an extreme hoarding situation at her home in July had her trial in Municipal Court delayed for two weeks, a judge ruled Monday.
Deanne Gray told Judge Cally Lund she was puzzled about the need for her appearance at the trial scheduled for Monday, saying she hadn't done anything wrong.
"I'm not even sure why I'm here today," Gray said.
In July, Gray pleaded not guilty to 64 counts of animal cruelty, one count of not removing animal waste, and 16 counts of not removing deceased animals. Each count is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $750 fine.
She did not have an attorney for her bench trial scheduled for Monday.
Lund reminded Gray that she said at her arraignment that she would retain an attorney.
Gray denied that.
Assistant City Attorney and prosecutor Zak Szekely objected, saying that he did tell her to get an attorney because of the large fine she may have to pay if found guilty.
Gray and Lund then argued about what Gray needed to do, with Lund ending the spat saying, "you're telling me you're not prepared for a trial."
Gray said she had not been provided a copy of the charging document. Lund responded that she gave Gray a copy at her arraignment on July 19.
Lund outlined the conditions of Gray's $1,500 cash bond, and told her she had 10 business days to find an attorney.
Szekely said delaying the trial was unfair to about a half-dozen people who came to the court to testify.
Lund responded that she grants defendants representing themselves some leeway and wanted to be fair to Gray.
That said, Lund explicitly told Gray that the trial will begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 30, whether or not she has an attorney.
The case began on July 11 when an officer with Metro Animal Services responded to a house in the 1200 block of West 23rd Street after receiving a complaint about some dogs living in unsanitary conditions.
The next day, after Gray said she would put a few dogs in her backyard for Metro to pick up, the officer went to the house, Gray wasn't available to sign over the dogs. The officer noticed frightened dogs and piles of feces.
On July 17, the Metro officer executed a search warrant at the house and was accompanied by other authorities. They searched the house and yard, finding a total of 65 animals plus deceased animals on the property.
Assisting authorities had to wear hazmat suits because of the smell and filth.
Metro Animal Services took in the animals including eight exotic birds, Australian Shepherds, Shetland sheep dogs, Papillon dogs, and other dogs and cats.
Metro was able to put most of the animals up for adoption, and turned over the care of the birds to the Elizabeth, Colo.-based Gabriel Foundation.