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Published: Wednesday, 8/20/2003

Court to drop cruelty to cat charge in plea agreement

An agreement was reached yesterday in the case of a Toledo Area Humane Society employee charged with animal cruelty involving the euthanasia of an abandoned cat.

The second-degree misdemeanor charge against Sherry Colby, 29, of Custar, Ohio, will be dismissed in two years if she complies with seven conditions.

They include completing a euthanasia technician certification course and other training regarding animals, and not committing similar offenses or violations of Ohio law regarding animals, animal cruelty, or euthanasia, Maumee Municipal Prosecutor John Arnsby said.

The conditions also include meeting with the attorneys in the case and Humane Society officials regarding euthanasia and appropriate procedures; following all recommendations by the Humane Society regarding professional or personal counseling, if necessary, including animal sensitivity counseling; paying court costs, and waiving the statutory time limit for the two-year period.

Mr. Arnsby said if Ms. Colby violates any of the terms the charge against her may be reinstated by the prosecutor's office.

James Morgan, Ms. Colby's attorney, said the agreement was “fair to everybody.”

One of the Humane Society's cruelty investigators filed the complaint in May in Maumee Municipal Court. It stated Ms. Colby “recklessly killed” the cat by using a pole syringe to euthanize it, which set off a violent seizure that ended with the cat's death.

In June, Humane Society officials said Ms. Colby followed established agency procedure. However, it wasn't clear whether the agency's practices conformed to generally accepted state protocols regarding animal euthanasia. The agency has adopted the state protocols, spokesman Susan Maxwell said.

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