Gadsden animal cruelty suspect enters not guilty plea : Animals - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden animal cruelty suspect enters not guilty plea : Animals not mine

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GADSDEN - AL -

Both Brian Ragsdale and Anthony Smith were supposed to be in court to face animal cruelty charges, but only one showed up.

Ragsdale plead not guilty in Gadsden municipal court, but Smith was a no-show. Police say he is in the hospital being treated for an illness.

After leaving the courtroom, Ragsdale told reporters he is not the owner of the animals, more than 140, removed from his home last week; he says they belong to Smith. Ragsdale says many were rescued from another location. Ragsdale insisted Smith took care of the dogs, birds and cats, feeding the dogs with high quality food.

The court set another hearing for next Thursday.

The Humane Society of Etowah County, which is caring for the rescued animals, reports the animals are doing much better. More than $3,000 has been donated to assist the agency in its effort to strengthen the animals. If convicted, the suspects will be forced to reimburse the humane society for the cost of up keeping the animals.