On November 16, former Baltimore Ravens player Terrence Cody stood trial for multiple charges related to the death of his dog, Taz.
Taz was kept in a filthy, feces-covered crate in Cody's garage with no food or water. As Baltimore County Assistant State’s Attorney Adam Lippe described, "He let this dog starve over more than four weeks. In the end, that dog was eating trash and eating bones to survive.”
These facts are not disputed. And yet, Cody was acquitted of felony animal cruelty charges. Defense attorney Joe Murtha argued that Cody didn't “intentionally” kill Taz. But one has to wonder, is it possible to accidentally leave a dog in a crate, never feed him, give him water, or even let him out to defecate?
What did Cody think would happen to Taz if he deprived him of all basic care? What’s more, Cody has other dogs, who are fed. Taz seems to have been singled out. If Cody didn’t want him, why didn’t he give him away or take him to a shelter? He had a choice every day to care for him, see that someone else did, or to let him go to a family that wanted him. And every day, he chose not to.
The defense was quick to point out that Cody took Taz to the vet before he died. Yes, he took him to the vet – when he was literally on the brink of death. By this time, it was far too late. He died within 2 hours. A mastiff, Taz had once weighed at least 100 pounds. He weighed less than 50 at the time of his death.
Disappointingly, the felony charges were dropped; however Cody was found guilty of several misdemeanors, including failure to provide food, vet care, drink and proper space for Taz. Sentencing is scheduled for January 5. Both Terrence Cody and live-in girlfriend Kourtney J. Kelley, who did nothing to help Taz, face jail time and fines. A fine would be pocket change to them. Only jail time would give poor Taz some semblance of justice.
Crimes of this nature should be taken much more seriously, but the laws in most states remain weak. Until they are strengthened, it is imperative that ALL animal abusers, wealthy pro athletes included, receive the maximum penalty allowable. Taz died a slow, cruel death at the hands of the person he depended on. We need to send the message that animal cruelty – and neglect on this order certainly qualifies – will not be tolerated.
State of Maryland vs Terrence Bernard Cody * Case Number:03K15000451
We the undersigned are asking that Terrence Cody receive the penalty of imprisonment to the fullest extent allowable under Maryland Statute CR.10.604.(a)(5) for his failure to provide Taz with care. Such severe neglect is animal cruelty by any definition, and all such cases must be taken seriously. Thank you for considering our request.