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Va. woman dies after arrest on animal cruelty charges

An attorney for a 62-year-old Virginia woman who died recently of chronic liver disease said he will sue the state corrections system for allegedly failing to appropriately tend to her medical needs after she was arrested on animal cruelty charges.

Baltimore lawyer David Ellin sent a notice of claim Tuesday to the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, following the June 26 death of Sharon Mulcahy.

Mulcahy, of the 9800 block of Mosswood Road in Richmond, Va., was arrested June 1 after one dog was found dead and another suffering from intense heat exposure inside her vehicle parked at a Medford hotel. Mulcahy told police she had checked into the Best Western with a severe bout of colitis and left the poodles, Missy and Bear, in her 2006 Ford Fusion.

Her attorney contends that while she was at the Baltimore detention center, her "medical needs were all but ignored." She was released from the jail about 2 a.m. June 4 and went to her mother's house, where her family members found her physical condition dire and took her to a nearby hospital. In addition to colitis, Mulcahy had cirrhosis, which caused her death, Ellin said.

The dogs were left in the car for about 19 hours with one window opened about two inches. According to the police, Mulcahy said she intended to check on the dogs but instead decided to go to sleep. Ellin said she had passed out from dehydration and had underestimated the severity of her medical condition.

She left the dogs in the car because the hotel did not allow dogs inside, Ellin said.

Temperatures that day reached the mid-90s.

Bear was rescued and taken to BARCS, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

Ellin said Mulcahy was honorably discharged from the military and had no prior criminal record.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said the department hadn't seen the lawsuit, which hasn't been filed yet, and therefore couldn't comment on it.

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