Hall found guilty, lawyer appealing
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — After just 30 minutes of deliberations, a jury of six filed back into district court Friday afternoon.
Seconds later, Dalena Hall learned her fate. She was found guilty on ten counts of improperly euthanizing animals at the McCracken County Humane Society last September.
No word on the status of Hall's employment. Local 6 tried to reach out to Dr. Jim Shumaker, president of the board of directors at the Humane Society. He could not be reached.
She received a 60-day sentence at the county jail and a $250 fine.
Hall, a 23 year veteran of the Humane Society, was charged with improperly euthanizing cats last fall after troubling cell phone video surfaced.
The shelter's euthanasua specialist Beau Anderson was charged with animal cruelty and forgery for his alleged role in doctoring euthanasia records.
Hall was also charged with complicity to forgery but today that charge was dropped.
Anderson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying business records, which led to a seven day suspended sentence and a $100 fine.
Hall did not react when learning her fate but her lawyer Jeremy Ian Smith could not believe it.
"I don't think she's guilty of a crime," he said later.
Earlier in the day he told a jury what had happened at the Humane Society last fall was not a crime, just a matter of business.
"She correctly euthanized animals but she didn't have a license. That's it. This isn't about cruelty to animals or anything like that."
"She got caught, she confessed to it and she did it ten times," Assistant County Attorney Todd Jones told the jury.
Jones, in fact, used Hall's own words. He played several police interviews, one in which she admitted to assuming some of Beau Anderson's duties.
"How can I say this? He hated euthanizing," she is heard telling Det. Matt Carter with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department.
Later, there was testimony from whistle blower Jeremiah Robertson. He testified he was working with Hall Sept. 17 when he noticed several cats were gone from the room in which they were being held.
"Where were they?" Jones asked.
"They were in a bag. They had been euthanized," he responded.
He later added, he knew it was Hall because he found gloves and Anderson, he said, never wore gloves when performing euthanizations.
Smith would later argue that testimony, "There is zero, absolutely zero evidence that anyone saw her euthanizing any animal on Sept. 17, 2011."
He also criticized the prosecution's case saying Hall had been charged with improper euthanization of cats but a certified animal control agency or even a cat had not been defined. A cat, he said, is a feline older than three months but the prosecution had not proved all animals involved met that definition.
But for a jury of six, it was not enough. Still, Smith said, he is determined to keep his client out of jail.
Citing her 23 year of service to the Humane Society, he said she was an animal lover and not a criminal.
"Just because you lose today doesn't mean you lose tomorrow," he said of filing his appeal.
The second page of Smith's appeal is an order that would keep Dalena Hall out of jail on bond pending appeal. That has not yet been signed by a judge. But Smith said he is determined to keep his client from reporting to jail next Friday, as the judge ordered.
On Friday, several animal lovers, who were instrumental in opening the new McCracken County Animal Shelter, were in the courtroom. They tell Local 6 they were pleased with the outcome and called it 'a good place to start.' Lisa Lauck and Christie Bell said they will be back Sept. 28 when Beau Anderson heads to trial to answer to animal cruelty charges.