By Joe Beck
WINCHESTER -- Convicted animal abuser Russell Ebersole exited a Frederick County Circuit courtroom Friday afternoon on his way to beginning a two-year jail sentence imposed on him by Judge Clifford "L. "Clay" Athey.
Athey also ordered Ebersole, owner of Aberdeen Acres Pet Care Center in Stephenson to not possess or own any companion animals for the next six years under terms of the jail sentence and a subsequent period of four years of unsupervised probation. Athey also ordered Ebersole to pay a fine totaling $10,000, $2,500 for each of four counts of animal cruelty.
The sentence came at the end of a two-hour hearing that drew about 50 people to the courtroom and a cascade of emails, letters and at least one online petition from members of the public weighing in on the case in the weeks leading up to the hearing.
Ebersole's sentence threw a shadow over the future of the kennel. Under terms of the sentence, the kennel can remain open and Ebersole can work there after his release from jail. But he must refrain from any interaction with dogs and other pets that would constitute possession or ownership of them during the duration of the probation sentence.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrew Robbins said after the hearing the exact legal definition of possession or ownership may be less than clear-cut, but he believes it means that Ebersole cannot train companion animals at the kennel.
Robbins said after the hearing he also plans to explore options with the county government about possible regulatory actions against the kennel.
Ebersole, who has owned Aberdeen Acres since 1996, took to the witness stand and testified that he began training dogs at age 7 with his father and has remained in the same line of work for much of the time since then.
Ebersole, 53, and Robbins spent much of the hearing sparring over the meaning of several videos shown in Ebersole's defense. They also debated the nature of intelligence and emotions among dogs that suffer from abuse.
The videos depicted training techniques used by Ebersole, trainer Cesar Millan on his cable television series, and the Baltimore Police Department. Ebersole insisted the videos showed that his training is no harsher than those of Millan and the Baltimore police and maybe milder.
Ebersole insisted he never intentionally injured any dogs and none ever suffered permanent injuries under his training and care.
He also refused to give any ground when Robbins insisted that dogs can suffer ruinous psychological effects from repeated abuse.
"You will not concede that if you abuse a dog long enough, it will have psychological problems?" Robbins asked.
"No sir," Ebersole replied, adding that he was not a dog psychologist.
But Ebersole was more conciliatory in speaking to Athey moments before the judge announced the sentence.
"I would offer my contrition to anyone if any of their dogs have suffered injury," Ebersole said softly. "It's not what I set out to do."
Robbins called the sentence "fair" after the hearing.
"I think the judge gave it a lot of thought," Robbins said.
Robbins said he was also heartened by the heavy flow of electronic and paper mail sparked by the case and the strong courtroom turnout.
"This is something the community felt very, very strongly about," Robbins said. "We're glad we were able to do something about it."
Robbins added that he hoped citizens will show the same level of interest in other criminal cases pending in the courts.
- Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com / source
November 26, 2013
WINCHESTER, Va. - A Fredrick County Gen. District Court found a local dog trainer guilty of animal cruelty on Tuesday.
Russell Ebersole owns Aberdeen Acres Pet Care Center where the accused to say their dog Maddie was brutally treated.
They say Ebersole picked Maddie up by her leash, suspended her back legs and spun her in circles until she urinated, defeated and bled on the floor. The judge sentenced the defendant to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. He also can not be in possession of any animals for two years.
Ebersole was investigated when a dog died a few hour later after being released from his pet care center.
Ebersole is currently awaiting trial for 11 counts of animal cruelty to be determined on December 6, 2013.
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*Read articles here & here about how Ebersole abused clients pets*
This is an information page about convicted animal abuser Russell Ebersole, owner of Aberdeen Acres Pet Care Center, aka Aberdeen Acres Kennel, located at 667 Walters Mill Lane in Stephenson, Virginia. Ebersole is also the owner of "SDAP - Service Dog Assistance Products", a company that claims to train service dogs to "assist children and adults with a wide range of disabilities".
On October 4th 2013 Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Clifford "Clay" Athey found Russell Ebersole guilty on four counts of animal cruelty.
** DEC. 6, 2013 - EBERSOLE SENTENCED TO 2 YEARS IN PRISON! **
*Note: On November 26th 2013 he was found guilty and convicted on a seperate charge of animal cruelty. See story in the links at the bottom of this page for details.
Below you will find information from a variety of media, government and legal websites and documents. Everything on this page is based on acts that were either recorded on video, dealt with in a US court, or resulted in a criminal conviction.
Pet owners have a right to this information so they can make an informed decision before unknowingly leaving their beloved pet in the hands of a convicted animal abuser. This "man", for lack of a better word, beat, kicked, choked, punched, threw and hung animals AT HIS PET CARE CENTER, often right in front of employees and pet owners. Allowing Russ Ebersole to continue running a pet care facility is as disturbing as letting a convicted child molester run a daycare center. We can only hope, for the sake of the animals, that he is sentenced to many more years in prison and his business is closed down for good.