efendant was tried before a jury and found guilty of second-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) (cocaine) with intent to distribute. Part of his appeal concerned the testimony of an SPCA law enforcement officer or humane law enforcement officers (HLEO) who dealt with Defendant’s dogs.
At the suppression hearing, a detective testified that he removed Defendant from the home, handcuffed him, and placed him in the back seat of a police cruiser. Then, an SPCA officer, a certified humane law enforcement officer with the SPCA, approached Defendant and asked if he was the owner of the dogs. She told him she was there to remove the dogs from the property and bring them to a shelter. She asked Defendant “if he was interested in releasing the dogs.”
The SPCA officer asked Defendant about releasing the dogs because, if he agreed, this would provide the dogs an opportunity “to get freed up so they’re not held in the shelter environment for months or years.” She stated, however, that defendant told her he “was not interested.” But then Defendant changed his mind. He said he wanted to release the dogs to the SPCA, and signed the necessary forms.
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