A Westminster woman will serve no jail time for animal cruelty after taking plea deals in two cases — one of which resulted in a dog’s death, charging documents show.
Elly M. Hoff, also known as Elly Arbaugh, 33, of the 900 block of Old Westminster Pike, sought plea deals in Carroll County Circuit Court and District Court cases that were part of a continuing investigation by animal control officers, according to Hoff’s attorney, Robert N. Smith III.
“Elly is a person that truly does love animals. However, she took on way more than she could handle,” Smith said in an interview Friday. "She is taking all steps necessary through mental health therapy and otherwise to make this situation right and to make sure it does not reoccur.”
Hoff was criminally indicted June 13 in Circuit Court on 10 counts related to animal cruelty. She was held from June 13 until she posted $5,000 bail July 1, online court records show.
In Circuit Court on Nov. 26, Hoff pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty in the death of a Golden Retriever, and animal cruelty for failing to provide food to an Australian Shepherd on or about April 17 in the 100 block of Kate Wagner Road in Westminster, according to the criminal indictment.
Hoff was sentenced to three years, all suspended, for the aggravated charge and 90 days, all suspended, for the second charge, online court records show. As part of the plea deal, the state abandoned its efforts to prosecute Hoff for the remaining eight counts, online court records indicate.
As part of the sentence, Hoff will be on probation for three years and may not have small animals or domestic pets, according to probation documents. She must also pay about $1,800 total to the Humane Society of Carroll County in restitution, probation documents state. Hoff will also be subject to random inspections by animal control during her probation period.
Smith said the plea deal was were negotiated in advance with the prosecution.
“Her overriding concern was for the continued well-being of her children, and that weighed heavily in Elly deciding to avail herself of a plea negotiation," Smith said.
Prior to any advice from her attorney or court order, Hoff enrolled herself in mental health counseling, which the court ordered her to continue, Smith said.
Melissa Hockensmith, senior assistant state’s attorney for Carroll County, was not available to provide comment on the prosecution’s perspective Friday.
In District Court, Hoff and husband charged
In District Court on Tuesday, Hoff entered a not guilty plea with agreement to a statement of facts for counts related to animal cruelty in a separate case, online court records indicate. Pleading not guilty under agreement to a statement of facts is functionally a guilty plea, according to case law.
Hoff was sentenced to 90 days, all suspended, for three counts of animal cruelty, according to probation documents. As part of the plea agreement, the state abandoned the remaining counts, online court records show. The maximum incarceration for conviction of misdemeanor animal cruelty is 90 days, according to charging documents.
Jacob D. Arbaugh, 38, was also charged in relation to Hoff’s District Court case. Arbaugh is Hoff’s husband, according to Smith.
Arbaugh’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment late Friday afternoon.
According to charging documents, Hoff and Arbaugh pleaded not guilty with agreement to a statement of facts for causing unnecessary suffering to a Beagle named Holly, failing to provide proper space to a Golden Retriever named Moose and failing to provide proper drink to a Blue Heeler/hound dog named Cowgirl on or about July 9 in the 900 block of Old Westminster Pike.
Both the Old Westminster Pike and Kate Wagner Road properties are owned by Hoff’s family, according to Smith.
Arbaugh was sentenced to 90 days, all suspended, for the three animal cruelty charges to which he pleaded not guilty with agreement to a statement of facts, online court records show.
The plea deal in Hoff’s District Court case was also negotiated in advance with the prosecution, Smith said. Hoff chose to forgo a jury trial in Circuit Court and seek plea deals so she could remain at home with her children, according to Smith. Jury trials are not available in District Court.
If Hoff violates conditions of probation, she will have to answer to judges in the Circuit Court and District Court, and may have to serve part of, if not all, of her suspended sentence in incarceration, according to Smith.