WOODSTOCK — A Strasburg woman facing animal cruelty charges accepted a plea deal and will not serve any time in prison.
Erica Lindsey Stinson, 30, pleaded no contest on Aug. 25 to two counts of depriving an animal of food in exchange for a year in prison with all of the time suspended. One of the counts was reduced from the charge of torture of an animal causing death.
Stinson was facing two additional counts of torture of an animal causing death but those charges were dropped as part of the deal.
Judge Kevin Black accepted the deal in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.
Similar charges against Stinson were dropped from Shenandoah County General District Court in June 2020. The latest charges were filed in August 2020.
Stinson will be on probation for a year, must undergo a mental health evaluation, and cannot own more than one companion animal for two years. She must petition the court for reinstatement of her rights to own companion animals, according to court documents.
The initial charges against Stinson came after a month-long investigation, according to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office at the time of her arrest.
Deputies responded to Stinson’s home in February 2020 after receiving a report from adult protective services, Capt. Wesley Dellinger previously said. During the visit, law enforcement found several animals in poor health and took 16 dogs from Stinson.
Stinson “gave up” those dogs and was cooperative, Dellinger said then. But she was later arrested after becoming “uncooperative” with the investigation.
Another 19 dogs and four cats were taken from her home to the Shenandoah County Animal Shelter. Two dogs and one cat were euthanized because of their condition, Dellinger said then.
Stinson was operating a rescue facility, but was not licensed and did not meet the requirements to operate as one, Dellinger said at the time of her arrest.
Stinson did receive a business license from the State Corporation Commission to operate as River’s Edge Senior Sanctuary and Rescue LLC on April 30, 2018, but did not pay the registration fee in 2019. As of July 2019, Stinson’s LLC was inactive, according to the SCC.
Police had not brought any charges against Stinson for operating as a rescue facility without a license, but Dellinger said then the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation was ongoing. Stinson was not facing any other charges in Shenandoah County Circuit Court at the time her case was resolved.
Stinson was represented by Woodstock attorney Aaron Burgin. Shenandoah County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton prosecuted the case.