Case Snapshot
Case ID: 12166
Classification: Hoarding
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Person(s) in animal care
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Monday, Aug 27, 2007

County: Benton

Disposition: Acquitted

Person of Interest: Brandy Ann Leighter

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Police arrested a Kennewick woman today after they said they found 60 dogs and cats on her property, along with "a small number" of dead animals.

Brandy Ann Leighter, 38, was booked into Benton County jail on suspicion of cruelty to animals and operating a kennel without a license charges.

Police obtained a seach warrant for a house in the 4500 block of West 9th Avenue after fielding complaints about possible animal abuse. Police said Leighter had been operating a non-profit business at 220 E. Columbia Dr. called Columbia Basin Animal Rescue, but recently left that property and moved her business into her home.

The home has been posted as non-inhabitable because of sub-standard living conditions, according to police. The dogs and cats found on the property have been turned over to Tri-City Animal Control.

Case Updates

A Kennewick woman has been acquitted by a jury on allegations she abused dozens of dogs and cats while running an animal rescue operation out of her home.

The Benton County District Court jury returned not-guilty verdicts for Brandy Ann Leighter on three counts of molesting or mistreating an animal and one count of injuring or torturing an animal, according to the court.

A fifth count for molesting or mistreating an animal was dismissed.

The trial lasted two days, with jurors taking a third day to deliberate and return their decision.

Leighter, 39, has a history in the Mid-Columbia as a pet foster parent and animal rights activist.

She used to operate the Columbia Basin Animal Rescue and Protection Agency on East Columbia Drive before moving it to her West Ninth Avenue home.

Police searched the property a year ago after getting a number of complaints. They reportedly found almost six dozen dogs and cats and a snake living in cramped conditions.
Source: Tri-City Herald - Aug 27, 2008
Update posted on Aug 27, 2008 - 5:03PM 
Brandy Leighter's attorney tried to convince a jury, this is a woman who spent lots of time and lots of money taking care of animals and she just got overwhelmed.

Almost a year ago, Kennewick police served a warrant taking dozens of animals out of Leighter's home.

Investigators say some needed water, food, and some were dead.

Tri-City Animal Control Director Angela Zilar was there that day. Some animals were adopted out, some fostered and others had to be put to sleep.

Zilar was subpoenaed to testify for both sides. She said Leighter has helped a lot of animals and was surprised by the filthy conditions at the house.

The defense also offered Leighter's volunteers as character witnesses. But it was hard to ignore pictures of caged dogs and dead cats left decomposing in litter boxes.

Leighter took the stand to answer the allegations. She claims the dogs were only in the cages over night and the two cats died suddenly. She admits leaving them in the litter box was wrong.

Leighter hoped to convince jurors she never meant any harm to the animals in her care.

The two day trail just wrapped up late Tuesday. The jury is now deliberating.
Source: KEPR-TV - Aug 20, 2008
Update posted on Aug 20, 2008 - 6:47PM 
A court date has been set for a Kennewick woman accused of animal cruelty. 38-year-old Brandy Leighter is scheduled to appear in Benton County District Court on September 27th.

Animal control and Kennewick police found over 60 malnourished animals and a few dead ones at her Kennewick home on August 28th.

Leighter previously ran an animal rescue organization but moved the animals to her house when she ran out of funding.
Source: MSNBC - Sept 2007
Update posted on Sep 17, 2007 - 3:09PM 


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