Woman Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges

Suspect Faces 118 Counts

(Bel Air, Md. – May 16, 2006) — Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested Donna Lee Bell, 59, of Whiteford and charged her with 118 counts of animal cruelty. Mrs. Bell was taken into custody at the home of her estranged husband located in the 7400 block of Berkshire Road in Essex Monday evening. She was subsequently returned to Harford County by sheriff’s deputies and processed at the Inter-Agency Processing Center located at the Harford County Detention Center.

Late Monday evening Bell was taken before a district court commissioner and was incarcerated on $5,000 bond. Early this morning Bell posted bond and was released from jail.

Each count of animal cruelty carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. If convicted on all counts Bell could be sentenced to 29 years in jail and ordered to pay up to $118,000 in fines. No trial date has been established.

Bell is alleged to have placed more than 100 dogs and cats in two separate homes and a garage on properties she owns in Whiteford. More than 40 dogs and cats died while in the care of the defendant.