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Published on March 14th, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman

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Woman won’t get jail time in pit bulls abuse case

A Molino woman accused of starving several pit bulls and letting them live in filthy conditions will remain jail-free, despite the sentencing recommendation of the State Attorney’s Office.

Circuit Judge Gary Bergosh placed Amanda Leah Oswald, 34, on three years probation after she pleaded no contest to charges of animal abuse Monday morning.

Oswald, who was originally scheduled to stand trial this week, pleaded no contest to two counts of causing death, pain or suffering to animals and two counts of unlawful confinement or abandonment of animals.

Escambia County deputies arrested Oswald and her husband, John Oswald, 30, on Oct. 3, 2012, following the discovery of weak and malnourished dogs on their property.

Deputies found two pit bulls shackled with heavy chains with bugs crawling all over them behind the Oswalds’ home on U.S. 29, according to an arrest report.

The report says one deputy saw one of the dogs “lift its head and look at me, though due to the dog being so skinny from lack of food, the dog could not stand up.”

The same day, another deputy shot and killed a dog neighbors said was an aggressive pit bull that belonged to the Oswalds, the report said.

State prosecutors had recommended jail time for the couple, followed by five years of probation.

“Because of the nature of the case … we felt that the appropriate sentence was 11 months, 15 days and a lengthy probation,” State Attorney Bill Eddins said.

In January, John Oswald, who pleaded no contest to the charges, was placed on probation for three years, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service at the Escambia County animal shelter and forbidden from keeping dogs during his probation. That sentence drew complaints from a number of residents, especially in the county’s north end, who thought a jail term was appropriate.

Amanda Oswald is also required to serve out 50 hours at the animal shelter and is prohibited from having a dog during her probationary period.

Eddins said there is no basis for appeal because the punishment falls under sentencing guidelines.

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Source: Pensacola News Journal “Woman won’t get jail time in pit bull abuse case,” March 11, 2013.

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