Plea Agreement Reached in Duncanville Animal Cruelty Case

Filed under: City |

Early Thursday morning Mary Colleen Cotton-Ogden entered pleas of no contest on ten charges of Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals before Judge Elizabeth Crowder in Dallas County Criminal Court #7.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Cotton-Ogden will pay a $2000 fine and serve two years of deferred adjudication probation.  Special conditions of her probation include mandatory counseling, no possession of any animals without court approval, and unscheduled spot checks by law enforcement or the SPCA.

If Cotton-Ogden does not violate any of the terms of her probation for 12 consecutive months the State agrees not to prosecute her on any of the other 90 cases.

Under deferred adjudication, if Cotton-Ogden successfully completes her entire probation she will not have any findings of final conviction.

Following an October 2011 anonymous email to Chief of Police Robert D. Brown, Jr., Duncanville Animal Control and police investigators discovered 102 dogs and 6 cats being kept in deplorable conditions inside three structures.  Many of the animals were malnourished, parasite infested, and coated in urine and feces.

Duncanville Municipal Court Judge William Neilon signed a warrant ordering all 108 animals seized.  At a civil hearing Cotton-Ogden surrendered ownership of the animals, and after an investigation 10 criminal cases were filed with the District Attorney’s office.


11 Responses to Plea Agreement Reached in Duncanville Animal Cruelty Case

  1. What she did to deaf blind pups is sick and criminal. Don’t forget she and her mother run a school! If you want to see the sickening conditions, go to the photos at the bottom of the SPCA page:

    And show your outrage at this slap on the wrist.

    Karen ANderson
    Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

  2. It would appear that justice is blind Dallas County’s Criminal Court #7. This woman abused and hoarded over 100 dogs of which at least 80 were special needs dogs, deaf, blind or both. She duped people in the rescue community, those in media, and the communities of Duncanville and Dallas. While she lived comfortably in her million dollar home, the dogs she hoarded were hid out in another home on the property with sealed windows and no electricity. These dogs lived in hell matted with their own feces and urine. This plea agreement is an insult to those who give of their time and lives to rescue special needs dogs. She deserves to be treated like the dogs she hoarded…forced to live in her own feces and urine locked away from sunlight and any human interaction. Now that would be a fair punishment for Mary Colleen Cotton Ogden Fitzgerald. Remember her name because she will be back to hoard again.

    Lila Arnold
    Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm

  3. Hopefully this “spot checking” is not just lip service. This woman needs to never and I mean NEVER be allowed to have animals near her again. I just love one of the recipients of her cruelty, Annabelle, and I am so happy that beautiful dog found a wonderful home. This woman is really SICK.

    Nancy Tipton
    Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm

  4. I can’t believe this is the only punishment she gets for torturing animals like she did.
    These poor dogs were forced to live in more than terrible conditions. She was trusted by so many who misjudged her.
    Send her my way . I have a crate she can live in day after day without human contact I promise not to meet her needs and her feet will never feel the grass outside.
    You have got to be kidding me that she will not be punished as deserved.
    We will see her again but in the time being we will have to figure out which name she will be using in her “good ole boy” community to hoard dogs again and treat them badly and get away with it.

    Dede Splitt
    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    • It’s not a “good ole boy” community that made the decision about her sentence. Unless you are referring to a Dallas County Court. This was decided in downtown Dallas, with Dallas County prosecutors and within the county court system.

      Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      • Whatever you say! Sad!

        Dede Splitt
        Monday, April 9, 2012 at 6:20 am

  5. I’m sorry not to see a tougher sentence passed. She kept these dogs in conditions that would be terrible for any living creature, but what makes this case especially sad is that many of these dogs were sensory deprived (blind or deaf or both) by nature, and the confinement and filth she kept them in robbed them of their remaining senses: they couldn’t move and their sense of smell was stifled. These dogs lived in a bleak world that contained only suffering. Beyond cruel. I sincerely hope the mandatory mental health counseling brings her back to humanity.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  6. Mary Colleen Cotton Ogden Fitzgerald has been around for many years in the rescue community, and unfortunately, duped a lot of kind people into believing she was offering a haven for special needs animals. What appalls me isn’t as much that she conned people– but that in addition to the horrifying conditions at her property (and the blatant fraudulent use of funds donated to assist in the care of these animals) but more that the courts are willing to overlook NINETY other cases if she modifies her behavior for a mere 12 months. It is almost impossible to get cases even in front of a judge for this type of hoarding and cruelty- and to see them blatantly disregarded as they are in Dallas County appears to be a very large step in the wrong direction for animal rights everywhere.

    Cher Walter
    Monday, April 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

  7. This is appalling. Until the laws change people like Mary Colleen Cotton Ogden Fitzgerald will continue to walk among us.
    This is a very scary thought….if she has the capability to hoard and abuse helpless animals what difference is 12 months going to make.
    How many time do rescue groups and organizations have to pick up the pieces of these scum bags of the earth?
    The ninety other cases…well I guess those are just “unsolved murders” they will never be looked at again and their deaths held no reason and their lives held no importance …in the eyes of the law that is.

    Tanya MacAllister
    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 5:52 am

  8. Disgrace that the courts turned their backs on the remainder of the animals that were seized from this woman’s “care”..

    It is a shame the other 90 plus animals did not have the opportunity to “plea bargain” for their lives. As for Tiffany, Stella, Outlander and Anabelle, they are safe and three of the four have been adopted to wonderful homes. They are four of the lucky ones that have moved on to the life they deserve.

    The plea bargain for this person is appalling.

    Jim Kilgos
    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

  9. Her year of PROBATION (this is just so chokingly galling) is up. I hope the authorities are doing the needful and have her in their continued radar.

    Karen Anderson
    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm