Woman pleads no contest to 10 counts of animal cruelty


Shania Wells of Belmont County allegedly allowed her cows, horses and turkeys to die without food and water.

She originally pleaded not guilty, and at one point, asked the court to order that her other surviving animals be given back to her.

But at least four hearings since then have been continued amid unofficial word that a plea agreement was in the works.

On Tuesday, her attorney, Adam Myser, told Judge Eric Costine that his client withdrew her previous motions and instead entered a plea of no contest to each of the ten counts.

Judge Costine noted that each count carries a maximum possible penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of $750.

The defense asked for more time to prepare for the sentencing, and the judge scheduled it for May 7 at 1:15 p.m.

Animal rights advocates have followed this case closely, occasionally standing outside Western Division Court with signs urging the maximum sentence and and no return of Wells’ animals because of her repeat offender status.

Today, members of Belmont County Hoof and Paw attended the hearing, and said they were relieved that Wells pleaded no contest.

They said they hope the judge rules that Wells can’t own animals for at least five years.

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