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Ravens' Terrence Cody indicted for animal cruelty

Charges against former Ravens nose tackle include illegal possession of an alligator.

A Baltimore County grand jury indicted Terrence Cody on animal cruelty charges on the same day the Ravens officially terminated the contract of the veteran defensive lineman.

Cody, who faces 15 counts, including two felony charges, turned himself in after a warrant was issued. He was processed at Precinct 3 and released on $10,000 bail, according to Baltimore County police. His arraignment hadn’t been scheduled as of late Monday afternoon.

Cody, a former second-round pick by the Ravens who made little impact in five seasons with the team and played in just one game this past season, also faces charges for illegal possession of an alligator, abuse or neglect of the animal, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

But the most serious charge is two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, stemming from the death of one of his dogs, a bull mastiff. If convicted, the crime is punishable by a maximum of three years in prison per charge and a $5,000 fine.

Peter Schaffer, Cody’s agent, told The Baltimore Sun in a telephone interview Monday night that the case against his client is flawed. He said late last month that Cody had taken the dog to the veterinarian and the dog subsequently died.

“This is all a result of the NFL allowing players to be convicted before they’re tried,” Schaffer said. “If Terrence wasn’t a public figure, they wouldn’t have ever charged him. It’s just ridiculous.

“If he was treating the dog so poorly, why would he take it to the veterinarian? They are trying to say he wanted the dog dead, which makes no sense because he loved the dog.”

The Ravens announced plans to release Cody on Jan. 23, an unusual step considering the defensive lineman was due to become an unrestricted free agent in March. They didn’t provide a reason for his release at the time, though it quickly became clear that the Ravens, who had five players arrested last offseason, wanted to distance themselves from Cody.

Elise Armacost, the director of communications for Baltimore County police, confirmed shortly after the move that Cody was being investigated for animal cruelty.

Monday marked the first day that the Ravens were allowed to officially terminate Cody’s contract, per league rules preventing roster cuts before the Super Bowl. Shortly after the Ravens made the announcement Monday that Cody was officially released, Baltimore County police announced that Cody had been indicted.

Cody already faced an uncertain future given that the 26-year-old played just nine snaps this past season and has had surgeries on both of his hips the past two years. If he’s convicted, Cody likely would be subject to discipline by the league for a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

“He’s done nothing wrong,” Schaffer said. “This could potentially affect his career adversely, and I’m not going to let it happen. This is a quality young man who’s a true animal lover. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone a dog.”

Along with the two felony accounts of aggravated animal cruelty, Cody is charged with five misdemeanor counts of animal abuse or neglect involving the dog. That count is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

John Cox, deputy state's attorney for Baltimore County, said Cody isn't under suspicion of dog fighting.

Schaffer said the dog, which Cody paid $8,000 to get from Spain, got sick once before recovering and then fell ill again.

“This was his favorite animal,” Schaffer said. “He’s still heartbroken. He’s so genuine. He would never hurt an animal. This is sad.”

In addition to the charges related to the dog, Cody was assessed one count of illegal possession of an alligator, and five counts of animal abuse or neglect of the alligator. The latter charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Cody also was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. While Cody has been a disappointment on the field, this is his first known bout with trouble off of it.

Cody played 57 games over five seasons with the Ravens and was credited with 87 tackles and two passes defended. A former standout in college at Alabama, Cody was taken by the Ravens in the second round of the 2010 draft.

But he’ll go down as one of general manager Ozzie Newsome’s biggest draft misses.

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