Maryland woman sentenced to 33 years in prison for animal cruelty

In Westminister, Maryland, a woman who operated an unlicensed dog breeding operation where dozens of dogs were found dead and dozens more were in poor condition was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Tuesday.

According to WjlaNews, Laura Filler, 56, was sentenced to the 33 years with all but seven years suspended by Judge Fred S. Heckler. The sentencing comes after more than a year after she and her husband were arrested after animal control officers found 27 dogs dead and another 27 dogs in need of help in a home Filler had rented with her husband.

Filler and her husband, John James Roberts, had been operating the breeding operation; Roberts is currently serving 11 years and 11 days behind bars.

At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed a video obtained during the inspection of the home in April 2019 which graphically showed decaying remains of dogs in bathtubs; the scene was described by the judge as a “chamber of horrors.” After the initial raid on the property, officials found an additional 16 dead dogs in bags in a shed. The deceased dogs died from dehydration and starvation, and there was disturbing evidence which revealed that the couple was purposefully providing food to some of the dogs while allowing the others to starve to death.

In addition, the couple has been ordered to pay restitution to the organization that owned the home and the local chapter of the Humane Society who took in the rescued dogs.

Read previous coverage here.

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