DReturn of 7 dogs on Monday docket

Sabrina Droescher was in magistrate court briefly Tuesday afternoon for a pretrial hearing on 103 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty that were lodged against her in early April.

But Prosecutor Rebecca Miller said her office has yet to hand over the information it has on the case to Droescher’s attorney, Kevin Sponaugle.

“Discovery is voluminous,” Sponaugle acknowledged to Magistrate John Rohrbaugh. “We expect it in the next week or 2.”

Rohrbaugh continued the case for 90 days to give the defense team time to work through the evidence still being sorted by lead investigator Cpl. Phoebe Lahman of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office.

Droescher will be back in the Judicial Center at 3 p.m. next Monday (June 7) before Judge Carter Williams in her bid to regain custody of 7 dogs.

Magistrate Ron DiCiolla denied her their return on April 16.

“This case is over,” DiCiolla said after his ruling.

“This case is far from over,” Droescher muttered as she left the courtroom. She appealed, setting up next week’s hearing in circuit court.

Authorities had allowed 1 dog, a blue pit bull, to remain with Droescher “for safety purposes” due to its extremely aggressive behavior. The 7 other contested dogs are being held at the county animal shelter.

When DiCiolla ruled that the 7 dogs would not be returned, he told Droescher, “What I’m seeing is good intentions gone bad. At this point, looking at the whole picture, I’m not going to return the dogs to you.”

Droescher was charged with 103 counts of animal cruelty after the dogs were seized from her Cabin Road property off Timber Mountain Road.

When sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant there on April 5 they found the remains of at least 20 dogs along with the live ones.

Cpl. Phoebe Lahman began an investigation into Droescher’s Love Shack rescue on Sept. 30. At that time Droescher was ordered to reduce the number of dogs she housed.

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