Stillwater woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty counts

Sunday, December 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ A Stillwater woman who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges could receive up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced next month.

Susan Louise Richardson, 36, pleaded guilty to four counts of animal cruelty on Friday. She was accused of starving three Great Danes and a Rottweiler which were rescued by police from a locked mobile home in a trailer park.

Prosecutor Tom Lee said that Richardson was supposed to take care of her boyfriend's dogs after he moved to Texas, but didn't.

``From the condition the dogs were in, they could have been starved for months,'' Stillwater Animal Control Supervisor Mary Dickey said.

``As far as what they were living in, it's the worst condition I've seen'' in 13 years as an animal control officer, Dickey said.

``There was nowhere in the trailer that was not feces. The floor was rotting. There were holes in the trailer. The dogs had sores on their feet, infections around their toes, from living in filthy conditions,'' Dickey said.

When police arrived at the stench-filled trailer April 4, they found a fifth dog, an emaciated Great Dane, already dead and wrapped in a blanket, left outside the mobile home, Stillwater Police Sgt. Randy Lowrey said in an affidavit.

Richardson estimated that she fed the dogs two to three times a week, according to the affidavit. She said she knew she wasn't feeding the dogs enough and knew they were in trouble.

Richardson admitted she found that one Great Dane had died and wrapped it in a blanket and placed it outside with the intention of hauling it off, the affidavit said.

All of the rescued dogs were ``very dehydrated and starved,'' from 20 percent to 40 percent underweight, Dickey said. When they were rescued by police, the dogs were all taken immediately to Oklahoma State University veterinarians.

``One of the Great Danes was so frightened he wouldn't let anyone touch him at the vet. We brought him here (to the animal shelter) and fed him before he could be treated,'' Dickey said.

He survived and was adopted along with the other surviving Great Dane by a Tulsa woman, who learned about the rescued dogs on the Internet, Dickey said.

The Rottweiler also lucked out and was adopted'' by a Stillwater woman, Dickey said.

``The Great Dane in the worst condition was so sweet. Everybody got attached to her at the vet school,'' Dickey said. ``We got her back on her feet where she was looking good,'' but she kept having complications and died in August at the veterinary hospital, Dickey said.