Terrence Cody, a former player for the Baltimore Ravens, has been placed on trial for animal cruelty and drug charges in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. The animal cruelty charges stem from the fact that Cody’s Canary Mastiff, Taz, [allegedly] died of starvation.
The neglect of the dog was discovered when Cody brought Tazl to an animal hospital back in January of 2015. Main Street Animal Veterinary Hospital attempted to treat the dog, but it died within hours of having been admitted. The mastiff weighed less than fifty pounds when it passed, a clear sign of neglect when others of its breed average 100-150 pounds.
The veterinarian that treated the dog testified that the dog had been in an extremely severe state when brought in. He’d thought the animal was already dead when Cody arrived at the hospital, stating that he could see every bone in the dog’s body. He also testified that Cody was in tears and speechless.
A forensic veterinarian testified that the dog had been severely neglected for at least four weeks, and was not suffering from any conditions which would have caused it to be so severely underweight. Baltimore County Police Sgt. Andrew MacLellan, who searched the Cody residence after the dog’s condition was reported to the police, found a kennel in the garage soiled by vomit and feces—presumably where Taz had been kept. Cody’s other dogs were apparently in good health. Cody turned himself into law enforcement in February to face the indictments.
As reported by the Baltimore Sun, prosecutor Adam Lippe stated that the dog “died a horrible, miserable death” due to its owners’ misconduct. Cody’s girlfriend, Kourtney J. Kelley, was also charged based on the prosecutor’s findings.
Cody’s defense attorney had stated that Terrence Cody had neglected the animal, but that his intentions were not malicious and he had not intended for the animal to starve to death. He pointed out that the dog had been a considerable investment for the player—as a pup, the mastiff had cost Cody nearly $8,000.00—half for the dog itself, and half to transport it to Maryland from Spain.
Kourtney Kelly’s defense attorney asserted that Kelly was not the individual responsible for the dog’s well-being or care, and that this responsibility fell solely on Cody’s shoulders.
On February 2, 2015, the two were charged with 15 different counts each, including a felony—aggravated animal cruelty, with potential sentencing to include over three years in prison and hefty fines totaling thousands. Both Cody and Kelley chose not to take the case to a jury, preferring a bench trial instead. On the same day, Cody was released from the Raven’s roster after five seasons in Baltimore.
On Monday, November 16th, Cody was acquitted of some of the most severe charges alleging animal abuse, but was convicted of neglect.
Documents from the trial assert that Cody didn’t provide Taz with adequate food, water, or medical care and that his neglect amounted to intentionally torturing the animal, resulting in its untimely death. His sentencing will take place in January of 2016.