MARCH 24, 2016 UPDATE: Terrence Cody was sentenced today to nine months in the Baltimore County Detention Center.
Former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody is finally going to trial on felony charges that he “intentionally tortured” and “cruelly killed” Taz, his Presa Canarios Mastiff, earlier this year.
According to the disturbing details in a February 2015 indictment, Cody and his girlfriend, Kourtney J. Kelley, inflicted unnecessary suffering or pain on Taz; did not provide their dog with nutritious food or proper drink in sufficiency quantity; did not provide proper space; and did not provide necessary veterinary care.
Taz weighed only 50 pounds when he died in January. The average weight for a Presa Canarios Mastiff is about 90 to 110 pounds.
“This dog died a horrible, miserable death because of the conduct of both of these defendants,” said prosecutor Adam Lippe in opening statements at the trial, which began today in Baltimore County Circuit Court, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Lippe displayed photos of the starved dog’s body and the filthy cage he had to live in.
— Tracey Leong (@TraceyWJZ) November 12, 2015
And then, in comparison, Lippe displayed a photo of Cody’s tidy shoe room, with the intention of showing that Cody took better care of his material possessions than he did of his dog.
Along with the two aggravated animal cruelty charges, Cody and Kelley are facing an additional 13 misdemeanor counts for everything from drug possession to illegally owning an alligator — which, no surprise, was also neglected.
Cody’s attorney, Joe Murtha, admitted Taz was neglected, but he insisted that Cody did not intend for the dog to die. Really? Anyone with half a brain — even an NFL player — should know dogs and other living things need food and water to survive.
Kelley’s attorney said she is innocent and was not involved at all in Taz’s care. So apparently she either didn’t notice or chose to ignore the starving dog in the filthy cage.
Cody, who is expected to take the stand, was dropped from the Ravens after the February indictment.
If found guilty, he faces a maximum of six years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for the felony animal cruelty counts, and up to 90 days in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine for the five misdemeanor counts.
Nov. 13, 2015 Update: Cody Takes the Stand
On the witness stand in his own defense today, Terrence Cody said he loved dogs and has had them as pets ever since he was 5 years old, the Baltimore Sun reports. He said he even sneaked one into his college dorm.
Cody and his uncle run a breeding operation in Alabama. When Taz started losing weight in December 2014, Cody said his uncle thought he might have worms and advised Cody to give him medication for the condition.
On the night of Jan. 19, Cody wrapped Taz in a blanket and, finally, took the emaciated dog to a veterinarian.
“I asked them could they help me with my dog, because my dog was very sick,” he testified, according to WBAL.
When he was told Taz died hours later, Cody said he was “speechless. I went into my own little world. I was still shocked that he was gone.”
Prosecutors say Cody and his girlfriend, Kourtney J. Kelley, neglected Taz for a month. Yesterday a forensics veterinarian testified that the dog did not have worms.
Baltimore County Police Sgt. Andrew MacLellan testified today that when he executed a search warrant on Cody’s property two days after Taz died, he found the dog’s cage, filled with feces and vomit, in the garage. He said the smell was so bad he and other detectives had to hold their noses and cover their mouths.
Cody told him Taz had only become sick a few days before he died, MacLellan testified. He said he kept him in the garage because he was a guard dog.
During the search, the detectives also found drug paraphernalia and a 3-foot-long alligator in a small tank.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday. Judge Judith C. Ensor will decide the verdict since Cody and Kelley chose a bench trial rather than a trial by jury.
Photo via Twitter