After five hours of deliberations, the verdict reached for a woman accused of being responsible for the deaths of 18 animals was reached -- not guilty.
Elizabeth Lindenau, 41, was charged with 60 counts of animal cruelty in January after dead birds, rabbits, and cats were found in her Columbia townhouse.
In total, officials say 20 dead animals were discovered in Lindenau's home. Assistant State's Attorney Tiffany Vaira argued the case "epitomizes cruelty." Vaira stated that necropsies performed on 20 dead, exotic birds, rabbits and cats would reveal that the "emaciate" animals suffered from starvation and dehydration.
During the course of the trial, Lindenau was acquitted of some of the original charges.
The defense had three key witnesses that played a role in Lindenau's verdict. The first was a veterinarian that spoke on behalf of Lindenau; the second was a friend and former co-worker of Lindenau at the National Aquarium and the final -- Lindenau's husband.
Defense attorneys argued Lindenau was not aware of the possibility that the animals were not being cared for properly.
Defense Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith told the jury that Lindenau's husband, Brady Decker, was responsible for the care and feeding of the animals discovered in the Columbia house.
Smith contended that Lindenau and her husband had moved to a different Columbia address and as the lease was expiring, Decker was responsible for the rescued animals still domiciled there.
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