A Columbia woman has been charged with 69 counts of animal cruelty in the discovery of 40 cats, birds and exotic animals in a Columbia townhouse last January. She faces up to three years in prison and a $345,000 fine.
A grand jury indicted Elizabeth Martha Lindenau, 40, of the 9400 block of Hundred Drums Row, according to court records unsealed Friday. She was arrested Thursday night by Howard County sheriff's deputies.
Lindenau was charged with 23 counts of abuse or neglect of an animal, 23 counts of animal cruelty, including failure to provide food, drink, veterinary care, air and shelter, and 23 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.
Howard County police and animal control officers responded to the 9600 block of Lambeth Court Jan. 16 following a report from a property manager of odor coming from a townhouse. Officers discovered four live animals in poor condition and 40 dead animals in a grisly scene that made headlines across Maryland.
, they found 19 dead animals in a freezer, including birds, rabbits, a guinea pig and a hermit crab, according to police.
Officers found 21 dead animals, including birds, cats, rabbits and a snake, in cages and other areas around the home.
Investigators determined that the animals had no food or water in their cages, nor was it available to animals that roamed the house, according to police. There was in the home, but it was not accessible to the animals.
The heat and power in the house had been turned off, according to a statement.
According to neighbors, no one had been seen at the house for more than a week before police arrived.
The aggravated cruelty charge is a felony with a potential penalty, upon conviction, of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 on each count. The other charges are misdemeanors with a potential penalty, upon conviction, of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 on each count.
Following Lindenau’s arrest, bail was set at $50,000. She is scheduled for arraignment on April 20.