Neighbors of the Glen Burnie woman accused of what police called the worst case of animal cruelty in Anne Arundel County history had offered to help her care for her pets, but she lied and said she had sold or given them away, a county prosecutor said yesterday.
"Meanwhile, these animals were in the house starving to death," Assistant State's Attorney Kimberly DiPietro said in a brief court hearing.
She depicted Kelly Lynn Schreck, 28, as a woman who "chose" to let six of her dogs die, while Schreck's lawyer, Dennis Cuomo, described a woman who had "become acutely depressed over situations in her life."
She had recently been hospitalized for depression and was about to start outpatient treatment, Cuomo said, when animal control officers broke in on June 13 and found nine dogs and four severely malnourished cats. Schreck was charged early this month with 27 counts of animal abuse.
Yesterday, Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North agreed to Cuomo's request to reduce Schreck's bail, cutting it from $800,000 to $250,000, on the conditions that she be on house arrest and no pets be there.
But Cuomo said she lacked resources for that bail.
"We were hoping that she would be placed on pretrial release, but I understand the judge's concerns," he said after the hearing.
North said the case seems to "shout" mental illness to her. An evaluation ordered by a District Court judge last week indicated that she is competent for trial.
Cuomo said that as a child, his client was adopted by her grandparents after she was deprived of food at home. Her marriage had grown intolerable, and in a new relationship, she suffered miscarriages twice this year, he said.
In recent weeks, Schreck became increasingly depressed and sought help at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Towson.
She then stayed about a week at the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital. When discharged, she was referred for outpatient psychiatric and psychological care but turned herself in to police on July 5, before she could begin, he said.
While in jail in this case, she was served divorce papers from her husband, he said.
Though Schreck has a Parkville address in court records, she is co-owner of the home in Glen Burnie with a brother.
It was vacant when animal control officers, alerted by complaints about the odor, forced their way into the Glen Burnie house to find five dead dogs and four more that were severely malnourished, and four emaciated cats, according to court documents.
One dog, a Great Dane in a cage with a dead dog, weighed 31 pounds when it died shortly afterward at a veterinarian's office, about a quarter of what a healthy dog of that breed weighs, the court documents said.
It was the second visit to her home in a few weeks. On May 1, officers had found an emaciated dog in her yard, and ordered her to bring the animal to a veterinarian, they said.