ASHLAND — A woman charged with five counts of animal cruelty was recently sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years of probation and a mental health assessment.
Barbara Thalayasingam, 67, was initially charged with animal cruelty on Aug. 8, 2022 after authorities from the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office and Humane Society of Ashland County found three dead dogs and 25 others in a house.
At the time, authorities said the temperature inside the house was 90 degrees and that the house smelled of feces and urine.
The Feb. 21 conviction marks Thalayasingam’s fifth since 2001 that involved abuse of animals, according to Jeffrey Holland, the prosecutor in this case.
Thalayasingam, through her attorney, Joe Kearns, pleaded “no contest” to three of the five charges. Ashland Municipal Court Judge John Good then found her guilty of the other two charges and sentenced her to jail, along with probation, fines totaling $817, a $1,500 reimbursement to the Humane Society of Ashland County and a mental health assessment.
The judge called the sentence “extremely light” and said he thought a prison sentence would be more appropriate because of her prior convictions and the severity of the case.
He also said the Ashland County Jail is not accepting defendants with deferred sentences because they, at the time, were at capacity. The jail has since said it is not at capacity and will take new inmates if they are considered to be a threat to the community.
“I hope you will not give any reason to regret that,” Good said, addressing Thalayasingam, about her “extremely light sentence.”
The terms of the probation were written such that Thalayasingam would not have any animals, whether pet or livestock, under her care.
He also ordered a mental health assessment.
“There’s obviously something wrong here, that you can do this to animals. There has to be something wrong. And we’ll see if we can find out what it is,” Good said.
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