Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco woman who couldn't afford vet gets six months' house arrest

NEW PORT RICHEY — Tammy Brown will pay for not getting her dog Harley the medical care he needed.

Brown, who was convicted last month of animal cruelty, was sentenced Friday to six months of house arrest, followed by three years of probation. She must perform 300 hours of community service and pay more than $1,000 in costs relating to the case.

And Circuit Judge William Webb imposed a special restriction:

"I don't want you to own any animals," Webb said. "Not even a goldfish."

Brown has spent the past 36 days in jail, after she was remanded to custody pending her sentencing hearing.

Pasco Animal Services officer Robin Long took Harley in 2011. Harley had large tumors that Brown said would grow, pop and reappear. He also had other issues: pus coming out of his eyes and cracked, bleeding skin. He had heartworms and ear mites.

Long said Harley couldn't stand up without support.

"It was deplorable, and I was in tears," she said.

Harley, 14, was put down.

Brown, 47, of Moon Lake said she tried to treat Harley's ailments with an over-the-counter animal skin ointment, but she didn't have the money to take him to a vet. Brown, who has degenerative bone disease and hypertension, lives off her monthly $508 disability check.

Her attorney, public defender Willie Pura, argued that she may have been neglectful, but she wasn't intentionally cruel.

"I respectfully ask for probation, and house arrest if you will," he said. "She's not charged with doing something. She's charged with not doing something."

Webb noted that Harley's health problems were so serious that the jurors had to turn away from the photos that were shown at the trial.

"He had an ear infection so severe and so painful it took years to develop," Webb said. "Harley was in pain and suffering for years."

Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis, who generally handles first-degree murder cases, argued for a harsh punishment. He brought up Brown's 11 prior arrests on charges ranging from domestic battery to marijuana possession. Brown does not have any previous felony convictions.

"(The court) can now keep her incarcerated or send her to prison," he said. "With her record, she obviously has not learned how to be a productive member of society."

Halkitis challenged the defense's description of Brown as a poor but well-meaning dog owner. Authorities have said Brown should have turned to a nonprofit animal group or rescue for help if she couldn't afford veterinary care.

"We're looking at someone who is not Mother Teresa here," Halkitis said. "That she's just a negligent person and poor people can't own dogs in Pasco County — nothing is further from the truth.

"I would suggest that you punish her with what the law suggests," he told the judge.

A presentencing investigation by the State Attorney's Office recommended a sentence similar to what Webb gave her.

"I certainly can understand the state's position that you deserve every day of incarceration for a year," the judge told Brown. "I have to question your sincerity at this point. My concern is that you're not really concerned."

Halkitis asked Brown if she had learned anything from her incarceration, and she said she had. She also told the judge that she loved animals and that she had no excuses for her behavior. She smiled at her daughter when she was led out of the courtroom.

Pura said he plans to appeal the felony conviction with the hope of getting the charge reduced to misdemeanor neglect.

Pasco woman who couldn't afford vet gets six months' house arrest 04/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.