- United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- PATRICIA O. ALVAREZ JUSTICE
On February 3, 2016, appellant was found guilty of thirty-six counts of cruelty to nonlivestock animals. The following day, the jury assessed punishment at 365 days' confinement and a $4,000 fine on each count. The trial court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. In his sole issue on appeal, appellant contended the trial court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict based on appellee's failure to prove the animals in question where in his custody. The court affirmed holding a reasonable jury could have found that appellant was responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of the dogs on his property and that the dogs were subject to his care and control, regardless of whether he was the actual owner of each animal. The court noted that several witnesses testified that appellant lived at the house and appellant offered to the investigating officers that "he did care for the dogs." The court concluded a reasonable juror, based on the direct and circumstantial evidence, could have found that appellant was "aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk" that he failed to provide property nutrition, water, or shelter for the dogs. As such, the trial court did not err in denying appellant's motion for a directed fired, and the court affirmed the judgment.
Terrence Mouton v. The State of Texas, San Antonio Court of Appeals, Case No.: 04-16-00070-CR, 12/28/2016
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