MIDDLEBURG — A Middleburg man was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days of probation for failing to pay more than $11,000 in restitution to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to cover the cost of caring for more than 200 birds seized during a raid at his home.
Union-Snyder Senior Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr. delayed the sentence to allow Craig T. Russell, 62, time to appeal the contempt conviction.
Russell, who serves as president of the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, was found guilty of a summary charge of animal cruelty in 2007 for neglecting his own pets.
As a result of that conviction, he was sentenced to 90 days of probation, a $750 fine and ordered to pay $11,308 in restitution to the SPCA for the care of more than 200 birds seized from his home in March 2007.
Russell did not pay the bill, according to defense attorney James Best, because the amount wasn’t disclosed in court and he was not given a chance to challenge it.
Woelfel responded that Russell had waived his right to challenge the court because so much time had passed and in July found him in contempt of court for not paying.
The judge gave Russell an opportunity to appeal the contempt conviction following sentencing Tuesday.
At the hearing, District Attorney Michael Piecuch said he had no interest in Russell serving jail time.
“Our main interest is getting restitution paid to the SPCA. They’re out a lot of money,” he said.
Russell said, “There are a lot of things I’d like to say. It’s probably not appropriate in a court of law.”
— Email comments to email@example.com.