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Cecil County SPCA cleared in state probe

Investigations by a state’s attorney and the Maryland State Police into allegations against the Cecil County SPCA have concluded there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and that fired employees lied about their accusations, the SPCA is reporting on its website.

The allegations were brought to light  by Del. Michael Smigiel, who published them on the Internet and still maintains on his blog that the they have not been fully investigated.

Caroline County State’s Attorney Jonathan G. Newell reported on his review of a detailed State Police investigation and report in a June 1, 2009 letter sent to Cecil County State’s Attorney Christopher Eastridge, who had asked for an independent review outside Cecil County.

“Despite a very thorough investigation … in my opinion none of the allegations of criminal animal cruelty on the part of current or past employees of the CCSPCA are credible enough to be prosecuted,”  Newell said. The State Police investigation began in January, 2009.

The State Police report concluded there was no credible evidence against the Cecil County SPCA.

According to Newell, Natasha Ewing, a key “witness,” failed a polygraph examination and then admitted to police she had lied about her allegations against the SPCA on the directive of her husband, Carl Ewing, who Newell concluded “also lied.”

Carl and Natasha Ewing were fired in 2008 from the SPCA.

Newell said his review of the State Police report, which was not publicly released, concluded that there was nothing more than “gut feelings” on the part of another fired employee, Erin Miller, in her allegations on veterinary medical care.

The state’s attorney added that, based upon the false testimony and comprehensive forensic and other investigations, “A series of ill-fated and unfounded criminal charges will do nothing but fan the flames of discontent while wasting further taxpayer resources.”

The letter also reported that “many volunteers, current employees and past employees (including those that are not the subject of any allegations) deny seeing any abuse.”

State Police investigators, including firearms experts, “conducted an extensive search” and concluded it was “abundantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of firearms training” that the Ewings’ allegations of animals “shot” to death with guns on the SPCA property were false, the letter said. Police experts conducted test-firings that confirmed holes in a wooden shed were made by a non-lethal tranquilizer dart rifle. The tranquilizer dart rifle must be calibrated and test-fired periodically to ensure proper and safe performance in animal control work. Investigators found no evidence of any other holes, casings, etc., on the property which they also ruled “had not been disturbed” in any way.

Newell, a Republican, serves in Caroline County which is included in the legislative district of Del. Smigiel, who is also a Republican.

The Cecil County SPCA, which is not affiliated with the Maryland SPCA, based in Baltimoe, said it is continuing to provide animal control services under contract with the Cecil County government and is currently in negotiations with the county on a new contract to be effective in July.

The full Cecil County SPCA press release can be found on its website.

Comments

Comment from Seek the Truth
Time June 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Publish the full letter from the Caroline County state’s attorney, it only clears the CCSPCA from a legal standpoint, it raises other ethical questions concerning this organization.

Comment from jwoestendiek
Time June 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

We’d be happy to post the full text — any idea where one might get a copy?

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