13 Investigates


Felony charges reduced in animal cruelty case

18 dogs seized from woman's home
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:35-05

New developments today in an animal cruelty case that Contact 13 first broke more than a year ago when 18 malnourished dogs were seized from a valley home.  

As of this week, the dog owner is in a lot less trouble.

When the 18 dogs were seized by Animal Control, the dog owner was charged with six felony counts.  

But that has now changed.  

The charges have became misdemeanors in a case that may just boil down to rescue gone wrong.

"Life's not living without... It's like a house without windows." That's how Teri Askew described life without the special needs dogs she says were part of her self-proclaimed rescue when we spoke to her this time last year.

That's when she found out that the way she'd been caring for the dogs was not okay in the eyes of the law.

"I think it's insane. I can't believe it. For somebody who's innocent, it's hard to let your brain absorb this," Askew said.

Police records say she "Failed to provide proper sustenance and basic medical care to the dogs, causing them to suffer extreme weight loss and unnecessary pain."  

But a District Court judge reduced all the charges this week, sending the case back down to Justice Court for trial.  

Askew's attorney said that's because she had no willful or malicious intent in how she cared for her dogs.

Askew previously told Contact 13 the only thing she was guilty of was having too many dogs.

The District Attorney prosecuting the case says the state still believes Askew committed felony cruelty.  

They agreed to the reduced charges for efficiency so they can put on a trial before a Justice of the Peace instead of a jury.  

That trial is set for early March.

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