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Jennifer Sully, 45, was sentenced to probation before judgment. Pictured is Sophie, a calf that was stolen from Braglio Farms and taken to an animal sanctuary in Virginia before being returned by police.
Jennifer Sully, 45, was sentenced to probation before judgment. Pictured is Sophie, a calf that was stolen from Braglio Farms and taken to an animal sanctuary in Virginia before being returned by police. (Courtesy Photo / Braglio Farms)

A Baltimore woman pleaded guilty to one count of theft after admitting that she stole a calf from a farm in Baltimore County and took it to an animal sanctuary in Virginia.

Jennifer Sully, 45, was sentenced to pay a fine and court costs, and to one year of unsupervised probation before judgment. The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office lessened the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor of theft of property worth between $100 and $1,500. Prosecutors declined to pursue other charges that Sully was accused of, including fourth-degree burglary.

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Sully agreed to a statement of facts from the State’s Attorney’s Office that said she was a part of an “animal liberation group” and took a calf, which she called Sophie, from Braglio Farms in Baltimore County to an animal sanctuary known as Life with Pigs in Virginia.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Erika Wilkinson, 19, another woman who was accused of stealing the calf with Sully. Deputy State’s Attorney John Cox said they dropped charges against Wilkinson because there was not enough evidence to prove she took part in the crime and because Sully told prosecutors that Wilkinson was not with her during the incident.

In court, Sully, who has worked as a veterinary technician for 29 years, said she believed the calf was “very clearly suffering in a bad way” at Braglio Farms.

Sully said her whole life revolves around animals and saving lives. She said she realized what she did was illegal and that any animal she helps in the future will be through legal means.

Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox acknowledged that many people are passionate about animal welfare, but said Sully should have instead spoken with authorities if she believed an animal was being mistreated.

“This was over that line” of things that a person cannot do, even with good intentions, Cox said.

Life with Pigs sanctuary publicly accused Braglio Farms of animal cruelty and neglect. Baltimore County police investigated and found no evidence of animal cruelty or abuse at the farm.

Ryan Phillips, the owner of Life with Pigs, has been charged with criminal harassment in Maryland. He has a hearing scheduled for Nov. 12, and has filed a motion to dismiss the charge.

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