The Anne Arundel County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $500 reward for help in finding the sole witness to a suspected puppy strangulation.
Delores Guy, 63, saw her son-in-law, police Officer Robert J. Hanlon, 32, of the first block of Hoyle Lane in Severna Park, throttle a family puppy and toss it into a trash can Oct. 25, 1997, according to charging documents. Hanlon later told his wife, Teresa, that the dog's barking annoyed him. The two women took the dead dog to the Eastern District police station. Hanlon was charged with mutilating an animal and placed on administrative leave, police said.
But as a January trial approached, prosecutors were told that the mother-in-law would not testify and that she was gone. This spring, the court issued a $100,000 body attachment -- similar to an arrest warrant -- for Guy.
The SPCA, which runs an animal shelter in Annapolis, views the incident as a "brutal act against an animal," and so offered to coax the case along, said Kristin Riggin, spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office.
"We were concerned about it not being prosecuted for lack of a witness," said Frank Branchini, executive director of the Anne Arundel County SPCA.
Hanlon's attorney, Michael J. Belsky, declined to comment.
This is not the first time the SPCA has posted reward money. It offers a $1,000 reward for information that leads to successful prosecution of dogfighting.
Experts say animal cruelty may be symptomatic of other problems, sometimes domestic, sometimes personal.
Guy lived with the Hanlons for about 10 years. She left in January because "she said she did not want to be a witness," Teresa Hanlon told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. last month.
Teresa Hanlon had not heard from her mother since but wasn't worried, she said. Greene said he doubted she was telling everything she knew.
Anyone with information about Guy is asked to call investigator David Cordle at 410-222-1740, Ext. 3063, in the state's attorney's office.
Prosecutors have kept evidence at the state medical examiner's office in hopes that Guy will turn up by next month's trial date.
"The dog is still up there in Baltimore. It's still a piece of evidence in the state's possession," said Assistant State's Attorney Shelly A. Stickell.
Pub Date: 6/23/98