SPOKANE, Wash. - The Greenacres woman accused of electrocuting several squirrels inhumanely pleaded not guilty to animal crueltly charges on Wednesday.
Mary Jane Franks was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. According to court documents, Franks said she was fed up with squirrels stealing her walnuts, so she rigged a fence up around the trunk of her tree and attached it to a nearby electric fence.
Authorities said the contraption killed nine squirrels.
Neighbors told SCRAPS the dead squirrels were hanging from the fence, which was easily visible from the road. Franks told a passerby that she was keeping their carcasses on the fence "to deter the other squirrels from coming on and they are my trophies," according to court documents.
SCRAPS said the charges stem from the way the squirrels were killed. SCRAPS said the animals suffered; veterinarians also said it would have cause a prolonged and painful death for the animals.
Franks' attorney, Brendan Kidd, said his clent did not intend to make the animals suffer and he intends to prove that in court.
Animal cruelty is considered a felony in Washington. Each felony count could cost Franks up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison.
Franks is scheduled to be in court for a discovery hearing in June. Her trial is scheduled for the end of July.
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