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Hampstead man, woman indicted on 109 counts each in 'Black Rock Dogs' animal cruelty case

Hampstead man, woman indicted on 109 counts each in 'Black Rock Dogs' animal cruelty case
John J. Roberts, 49 and Laura S. Filler, 55 (Courtesy Photo / Carroll County Detention Center)

The Hampstead man and woman who were arrested in early April and accused of leaving dozens of dogs trapped in horrid conditions have been indicted in Carroll County Circuit Court.

John J. Roberts, 49, and Laura S. Filler, 55, who had previously been charged and held without bond on 51 counts each of animal cruelty and related charges, have now each been indicted by a grand jury on 109 similar counts, according to new electronic court records filed Thursday afternoon.

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The indictments include 27 counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a felony; 27 counts related to dead or decaying animals; 27 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty; and other counts related to neglect, according to electronic court records.

Roberts and Filler were arrested April 6 after an April 5 animal control worker welfare check at 4302 Black Rock Road uncovered 38 dogs, 11 of which were dead, in squalid conditions on the property. Inside the home, first-responders found “liquid raw sewage” that was 3 or 4 inches deep in some places.

According to an application for statement of charges, Filler and Roberts ran an unlicensed breeding operation, marketed as Black Rock Dalmatians and Black Rock Puppies out of the home.

The surviving dogs — 20 Dalmatians, five golden retrievers and two English setters — were cleaned and taken to the Humane Society of Carroll County for veterinary treatment. The Humane Society has begun returning some of the dogs to their previous owners — in some cases breeders who had sold their animals to Roberts and Filler — but officials have said many of the dogs are not yet ready to be adopted.

Roberts and Filler are currently being held at the Carroll County Detention Center, according to electronic court records, and Filler is scheduled to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court on June 7. No court date was listed for Roberts in his indictment.

The attorney listed for Roberts in the original charges could not be reached for comment Thursday at 5 p.m. No attorney was listed for Roberts or Filler in Thursday’s indictments.

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