Columbia Woman Not Guilty in Case of 40 Dead Animals

Jurors found Elizabeth Lindenau not guilty of 18 counts of animal neglect.


A Columbia woman was found not guilty of 18 counts of animal neglect by a jury at Howard County Circuit Court on Friday, after a lengthy trial in which her husband took responsibility for the dead animals.

After the verdict was read, Elizabeth Lindenau went to the back of courtroom where her husband, Brady Decker, was sitting and gave him a hug, according to Howard County state's attorney spokesperson Wayne Kirwan.

Lindenau, her attorney and Decker declined to comment immediately after the verdict was read and quickly left the courthouse.

In a press release issued by Jonathan Smith, Lindenau's attorney, about an hour after the verdict was issued, Lindenau stated, "I am relieved that the jury was willing to listen to the facts, and see past the emotional nature of this tragedy... I loved all of the animals, and it broke my heart that they died."

"There was massive evidence of Ms. Lindenau's innocence from the very beginning," wrote Smith. "The prosecutors chose to turn a blind eye to the truth... This case consumed twelve trial days; sixteen county citizens sacrificed their time to hear the case. These resources should have been devoted to prosecuting violent criminals."

Assitant state's attorney Tricia Cecil said the verdict was not justice for the animals.

"I think we put forward the best case we had," said Cecil who prosecuted the case with assistant state's attorney Tiffany Vaira.

Judge Louis A. Becker  on 22 counts of animal cruelty before closing statements began on Thursday afternoon.

Lindenau was first arrested and charged with animal cruelty after police officers in her and her husband's Columbia townhouse on Lambeth Court on Jan. 16.

Lindenau's trial began on Aug. 22. Decker testified that the animals . He said he stopped feeding the animals in mid-December after one of his beloved cockatoos died.

Decker was charged with 69 counts of animal cruelty in July and is currently awaiting trial.

on Tuesday and Wednesday that she had moved out of the Columbia townhouse in April after a dispute with a neighbor. She relocated to her parents' house on Hundred Drums Row and claimed to have only returned to the townhouse one time, to feed the animals being stored there while her husband was away on business in August.

The couple kept birds, cats and rabbits at the home.

Lindenau testified the animals had died until the day of the police raid when Decker told her. That day she said she took Decker to the hospital and admitted him to a mental ward after he said he was going to kill himself. He stayed in the hospital for seven days.

In closing statements on Thursday evening, Cecil described Lindenau as a person with money troubles, who had too many animals and was afraid people would discover the mess she and her husband had created.

Cecil described Lindenau as the one who acquired animal after animal with little thought as to how she would take care of them. She described Decker as "the helper" and "the muscle."

"Brady Decker was not the type of person that would be tasked with taking care of 20-plus animals and the defendant knew this," said Cecil. "If these animals were so beloved, so cherished, why did the defendant leave them behind?"

Lindenau's attorney, Smith, described the state's case as "more of a persecution than a prosecution."

He said there was no direct evidence linking Lindenau to the Lambeth Court townhouse at any time before the deaths could have been prevented.

Smith said Decker was overwhelmed with taking care of the animals, snapped and was too afraid to explain to his wife what had happened.

 "[Decker] knew the implications on his wife and marriage as a result of what he did," said Smith.

The verdict brings an end to a trial that has gone on since Aug. 22, encompassing 12 days of testimony and a day of jury deliberations.

Many of the animals that died in the house were adopted by Lindenau, according to testimony during the trial. Lindenau, 40, was serving as an executive director of a bird rescue organization before the dead animals were discovered.

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LB September 08, 2012 at 12:16 AM
She abandoned those animals and in my eyes... that is neglect... even if the husband said it was his responsibility... those were her animals... she did not once check on them to see how they were doing. She did not provide them with food or water and neither did he. They suffered a horrible death... starved, dehydrated, in the freezing cold with no heat and in the dark with no lights! Shame on both of them and for the legal system for the twist on words which is why the jury found her not guilty! All the animals they currently have should be taken away... they are hoarders and need help! If Brady Decker is found not guilty, there is no justice for animals in this world. I hope they have nightmares of all those dead animals every night for the rest of their lives!
Van Halen September 08, 2012 at 11:36 AM
she didn't "adopt", she collected, one after another after another, without respect to those already in her care! You cannot change words around enough to get me to believe, she had no knowledge they were dead-well, maybe she didn't know they were exactly dead, SHE KNEW THEY WERE DYING!!!!!!
Homer, Otto & Olivia September 08, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I don't understand how she could not see those animals for so many months and not go over and see them - she lived 3 minutes from the townhouse - not like she was 5 hours away. Why have animals if you are going to keep them in another house with no human interaction except to feed them. She is just going to do this again at some point. Sick, sick, sick....
blue sky September 08, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Money .....money problems .... Money problems.... The root of it all. Lack of space .... Then no where to turn when they were caught. Perfect scapegoat .... Of course if you get caught you might be tempted to feel like the world is spinning around ..... Plenty of times she was in the neighborhood on same street visiting knowing her animals were in the townhome and the so called animal lover did not go in. Does not make sense from psychological perspective at all. Actually if some of their favorite birds were there it further does not add up. Not to mention after the jury states "not guilty", the first person you hug is your husband ? The one that you say just killed your animals and you blamed ? Not the smartest thing to do ... Was it.
Jerry Johnson September 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Her husband is also facing charges, and they are still married. Would make sense that she consoles him after the verdict is read... Case documents show she was in the neighborhood two times, not "Plenty of times." Would make sense, considering the sheer volume of animals that they took in from (very willing) donors, that they split duty, even if they traveled together to pick up, drop off, and feed them at multiple locations.
blue sky September 08, 2012 at 08:54 PM
She did not console. She hugged after the jury said not guilty. 2nd.... Case documents stated "her" testimony. (2 times). The key word that you have said as well is "they". They always stuck together, very attached, morning to night. No it does not make sense. Do you just leave your family that you have been with for years but live so close ...not once to say hello ... To hear them respond ...or to even see you care to enter the home for months? The birds that died could talk and knew her. One would even peak out of the corner of the cage thru the cover. Peak a boo. So I again say No. Does not make sense.
blue sky September 08, 2012 at 09:03 PM
One last comment ... The name of the bird is Solomon.
Johnny Bravo September 08, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I live on this street and know for a fact she visited a neighbor numerous times. the states attorney did a poor job!!
Johnny Bravo September 08, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I ask this question..... If he didn't go back into the home after his "beloved Bird" died.. How in the heck did the animals the police found get into the freezer???
Attorney Smith September 09, 2012 at 12:27 AM
It's always amazing to me how so many people can reach judgments without ever having all of the facts. This jury heard 11 days of testimony! And some of you appear to think you are in a better position to make an informed judgment. Easy to do when hiding behind anonymity! Get over it!
LL September 09, 2012 at 01:34 AM
I am simply appalled at the sheer ignorance people have had towards this case. If you do not have all of the facts, how can you possibly make such statements! Beth, came and hugged her entire support system after the conclusion of the trial. If you want to get upset, thank the state's attorneys for wasting all our tax payers' money on a case that was basically a witch hunt.
Van Halen September 09, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Guess everyone who knows, sees the truth from actual interactions (daily, weekly, monthly, occasionally), are all ANIMAL NUTS. Mr Smith, you represented an Entire Bushel of NUTS in just one stop! The facts are, SHE IS EQUALLY responsible for getting THEM into this situation. You just got pretty darn lucky the judge listened to your whining! A temporary victory unless she gets some serious psychological help!
blue sky September 09, 2012 at 02:23 AM
The other person if we haven't figured out yet lives on the very street as well. I might also .....add how would I know Solomon used to play peak a boo.
Temperance September 09, 2012 at 02:30 AM
It is a good thing we live in a society where facts carry more weight than the lynch-mob, vigilante type behavior people are still so given to that might otherwise prevail. Thank goodness for the higher function of an impartial court of law lest we find ourselves in the dark ages once more... This is exactly the type of behavior that breaks the whole system down.
Van Halen September 09, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Johnny B - you GO! Speak up...oh wait, Brady already hung himself confessing under oath. Too bad he doesn't have a history of mental issues to help his case....
Johnny Bravo September 09, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Thanks! I will do my best to inform the states attorney on matters they failed to discover. The states attorneys are young and ill equiped to deal with this case!!
Voice of the Voiceless September 09, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Jerry Johnson, your comment shows your ignorance of the facts. Willingly? Do you know the reasons these people gave up their animals? Many because of illnesses or allergies, because of lost jobs and lost homes, and hard times. And to whom did they give them up, in most cases? To someone who promised to provide beyond basic care- beyond just food and water, which was undeniably denied. They promised "enrichment". (Beth is a huge proponent of this) How much "enrichment' did she provide? She herself claims to have left them to be housed like criminals in cages with only minimal care. She worked four hours a week, her husband worked a full time job and had a son to care for. The facts are quite clear as to who dropped the proverbial ball here.
Voice of the Voiceless September 09, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Well stated, LB.
Voice of the Voiceless September 09, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Or worse, didn't care.
Voice of the Voiceless September 09, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Attorney Smith, I can almost understand your comments. You saw the side of Beth she wanted you to see, the show she put on for you for the transparent purpose of getting off from these charges. She played you.... and lets not forget, paid you. How many others were manipulated by her act over the years?. Quite obviously, all who were once close to her and used by her and, yes, fooled by her- for a time. Until one by one, the veil slipped and people began to see her for what she truly was. Someone who trolled Craigslist collecting animals to fill some sick need inside her that she felt only more and more and more animals could fill. And when she saw another ad, or read of another situation, she went after them, too. There were other homes, and other rescues, but, in her mind, only she could care for them better than anyone. She CHOSE to keep taking in more animals after there were far too many to reasonably provide for. For the fame. For the sick fulfillment. For the glory that only she was their redemption. What she became was the creator of an animal Dachau.
Voice of the Voiceless September 09, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Temperance, what truly "breaks the whole system down" is someone who can be sworn in and sit on a stand and tell lies and get away with it. There is your crumbling of the system. Examples? Beth used the excuse that she couldn't go care for the animals because of the stressful interaction with a neighbor. One who had moved away. Did you know that? Brady testified that the one volunteer "wanted" to house birds for them in their basement although this was clearly not the case. The volunteer tried month after month to have the birds moved out and was avoided and ignored. This person had agreed to let them stay for a very short period, then was used with no regard for their privacy, or respect for the friendship shown. Did you know that Beth and Brady came into this person's home at all hours- even once at 1:00am- even bringing in others without permission? Do you know what Beth called the people she pretended to be friends with in order to get what she wanted from them? Her "frenemies". This is who you are defending.
Homer, Otto & Olivia September 10, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Just Sad - this case should have set an example for future people who decide to not to take care of their animals and let them die of starvation and dehydration. Those animals - were in the care of these 2 - plain and simple. It does not matter where they come from. Many people adopt rescues and we don't say - oh well they were rescues - so people didn't want them in the first place. It doesn't mean they deserve less love. She worked her attorney and got off. It's America at it's finest... Only she knows the real truth - and Karma has a way of coming around....I hope she gets help.
Homer, Otto & Olivia September 10, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Homer, Otto & Olivia want you to check out their pictures above - these were of course before they died of starvation.
DawnP September 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Voice of the Voiceless September 16, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Since when is trying to get justice for 40 lost lives a witch hunt? And if her husband is admitting guilt, why is he pleading not guilty to the charges against him?
sheri perini September 17, 2012 at 03:57 AM
The evidence was she is the 501C3 they are suppose to protect the animals that they have in their rescue..She did not do that. It was her responsibility..The whinpy husband should have stayed in the looney place with her.. Disgraceful. She has 40 plus other animals in her new home that her mother left her. That is when she moved..No electric? The financial statement on the 1023 form with the IRS we will have that audited from that so called rescue..Boycott this rescue!!!! What was her mission statement????God help these poor animals..This sickens me along with the courts...What comes around goes around baby..
Voice of the Voiceless September 17, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Sheri, her mother didn't "leave" the house to her. When her parents moved to GA to live with her brother, they arranged to buy the house. She herself stated she was still moving out of the townhouse as late as October, so she was not telling the truth in court when she said she hadn't been there since August. But, you are correct that she was indeed responsible for the animals and their care. Not only morally, but legally as well. The truth will come out.
Voice of the Voiceless October 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Johnny, the animals got into the freezer because they had died over time and were put into the freezer as they passed. It is not known how these animals died because, by freezing the remains, a necropsy cannot be performed to find an accurate cause of death. The ones that died slowly by starvation and neglect were found dead in their cages and around the townhouse.


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