Woman pleads not guilty in animal cruelty case

By Dean Wright - [email protected]

GALLIPOLIS — A Bidwell woman plead not guilty to three charges of animal cruelty as of Dec. 18 in Gallipolis Municipal Court.

According to Gallipolis police records, Michelle Queen, 21, was charged with three separate counts of animal cruelty. The animals in question were supposedly recovered by the Gallia County dog warden and allegedly found with no access to food or water in their restrained areas. The warden retrieved two animals from a property on Jesse Creek Road in the Bidwell area after receiving calls from a man in regards to having allegedly seen a starved animal in early October. One animal was allegedly discovered dead after being excavated from a shallow grave.

Animal cruelty violations are often considered second-degree misdemeanors in Ohio.

“The property owner called and said he was at the (location in question) on Sept. 30,” Laurie Cardillo, Gallia County dog warden, told the Tribune earlier. “There was a pit bull (allegedly) down over the hill on a chain that couldn’t get back up the hill. It was so weak it couldn’t get back up the hill.”

The property owner asked the warden to look into the situation as he believed the animal he claimed to witness would not live much longer. According to the dog warden and assistant warden, the pair traveled to the property on Jesse Creek Road and encountered Queen. After allegedly showing a picture to Queen, who Cardillo said identified the animal as one of her own, the warden asked where the dog was. Queen allegedly replied that the dog had died that morning and was buried in the backyard.

According to the warden, a boxer and pit bull were also seen on the property and in reportedly poor health.

Queen signed over the other animals to shelter care. Shelter workers returned to excavate the corpse of the dead dog after securing permission from the property owner to do so.

“(The assistant dog warden) hit the dirt with a shovel on time and hit the dog corpse,” Cardillo said. “She actually uncovered the dog with her hands.”

Workers said the burial spot was shallow. The warden contacted a local veterinarian to request an autopsy be done on the animal’s body. The corpse, Cardillo said, looked emaciated upon its removal from the ground.

The pair of dogs removed from the property have since died. One was unable to recover from its poor health and the other was euthanized, Cardillo said.

According to court records, a pretrial has been set for 2:15 p.m. Jan. 25 in Gallipolis Municipal Court.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright

[email protected]