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Pet worker guilty; gets probation for drowned rabbits

By jim Published: November 19, 2009

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer

A Ravenna woman, whose Facebook photo with two drowned rabbits garnered national attention, was sentenced today to probation.

Liz Carlisle, 20, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of animal cruelty. She also received a $250 fine and will perform 120 hours of community service.

She was sentenced by Akron Municipal Judge Stephen Fallis in a courtroom devoid of reporters and news cameras.

Fallis, who was defeated in his election bid Nov. 3, could have sentenced Carlisle to 180 days in jail.

In earlier court appearances, media cameras and animal rights protesters hounded Carlisle and her family inside and outside the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center.

Carlisle's attorney, Ron Gatts of Akron, arranged the sudden change of plea this week. Carlisle entered the guilty plea Tuesday and a presentencing report was completed in time for today's hearing.

The plea was not reflected on the court's online docket.

Gatts said Carlisle has been subjected to verbal attacks and death threats since news of the photos broke in August. He said he wanted to take the case to trial, but Carlisle wanted to put the case behind her.

Carlisle, he said, was ordered to drown the rabbits due to their severe injuries suffered during a fight with each other at the now-closed Petland store at Chapel Hill mall.

After drowning the rabbits, Gatts said a store supervisor photographed Carlisle smiling and holding a dead rabbit in each hand. Carlisle then posted the photo to her Facebook.com account, which caught the attention of animal rights activists.

Gatts said he was prepared to take the case to trial to prove that Carlisle did not break any laws by euthanizing the rabbits, which was directed by her bosses because of the severe injuries the animals suffered.

''As much as I wanted to try the case, [Carlisle] said, 'I did it,' which I think she has said from the beginning, and she said, 'I just want it to be over with.' ''

Prosecutors maintain Carlisle did not act appropriately and should have sought an opinion from a veterinarian before drowning the rabbits. Carlisle pleaded to the misdemeanor charges brought by the city.

''Unfortunately, it is not consistent with the way that most folks would deal with an animal that has injuries. You would take them to a vet and consult with the veterinarian as to the need for treatment, or whether treatment was appropriate,'' said Akron City Prosecutor Doug Powley.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com.

A Ravenna woman, whose Facebook photo with two drowned rabbits garnered national attention, was sentenced today to probation.

Liz Carlisle, 20, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of animal cruelty. She also received a $250 fine and will perform 120 hours of community service.

She was sentenced by Akron Municipal Judge Stephen Fallis in a courtroom devoid of reporters and news cameras.

Fallis, who was defeated in his election bid Nov. 3, could have sentenced Carlisle to 180 days in jail.

In earlier court appearances, media cameras and animal rights protesters hounded Carlisle and her family inside and outside the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center.

Carlisle's attorney, Ron Gatts of Akron, arranged the sudden change of plea this week. Carlisle entered the guilty plea Tuesday and a presentencing report was completed in time for today's hearing.

The plea was not reflected on the court's online docket.

Gatts said Carlisle has been subjected to verbal attacks and death threats since news of the photos broke in August. He said he wanted to take the case to trial, but Carlisle wanted to put the case behind her.

Carlisle, he said, was ordered to drown the rabbits due to their severe injuries suffered during a fight with each other at the now-closed Petland store at Chapel Hill mall.

After drowning the rabbits, Gatts said a store supervisor photographed Carlisle smiling and holding a dead rabbit in each hand. Carlisle then posted the photo to her Facebook.com account, which caught the attention of animal rights activists.

Gatts said he was prepared to take the case to trial to prove that Carlisle did not break any laws by euthanizing the rabbits, which was directed by her bosses because of the severe injuries the animals suffered.

''As much as I wanted to try the case, [Carlisle] said, 'I did it,' which I think she has said from the beginning, and she said, 'I just want it to be over with.' ''

Prosecutors maintain Carlisle did not act appropriately and should have sought an opinion from a veterinarian before drowning the rabbits. Carlisle pleaded to the misdemeanor charges brought by the city.

''Unfortunately, it is not consistent with the way that most folks would deal with an animal that has injuries. You would take them to a vet and consult with the veterinarian as to the need for treatment, or whether treatment was appropriate,'' said Akron City Prosecutor Doug Powley.

Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com.

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