Boynton teacher faces charges after cats starve to death

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Testimony is underway in the trial of a former middle school teacher. Allison Dinsmore is accused of allowing her cats to starve to death in her Boca Raton apartment.

Update, TUE 10 PM: The apartment manager testified Tuesday about finding the dead and decomposing cats.

In opening statements, Dinsmore's lawyer told jurors the teacher was afraid to go the apartment after a confrontation with an ex-boyfriend, and there was no intent to hurt the cats.

But prosecutors said the deaths could have been easily avoided. "You're not going to hear one single reasonable remedy that was taken that would have, not could have, would have prevented the cruel death of these two animals."

"Her life got turned upside down. Because she internalizes everything, and never deals with it, and never tells anybody, she basically cracked is what happened," said Dinsmore's lawyers.

Dinsmore will testify in her own defense.

Previously: She was a teacher at Congress Middle School in Boynton Beach.  Now, Allison Dinsmore faces the prospect of going to prison.

Monday in a West Palm Beach courtroom, Dinsmore went on trial -- accused of allowing her cats to starve to death. She faces two counts of felony cruelty to animals.

At Dinsmore's Boca Raton apartment last year, investigators say, they found two cats in advanced stages of decomposition. A necropsy showed they'd been dead for at least a month.

Animal Control Capt. David Walesky told us at the time, "One of the cats was found inside the cupboard, deceased on top of the dinner plates. The other was found deceased -- wedged behind the cat litter box."

Dinsmore's Miami lawyer, Jordan Lewin, has told us his client was in an abusive situation. Her apartment, he said, represented a danger zone for her.

Under state law, depriving an animal of food or shelter is a misdemeanor. To convict of the felony Dinsmore faces, prosecutors will have to prove she committed an act that resulted in a cruel death.

If convicted, Dinsmore potentially faces 10 years in prison. Dinsmore was not rehired for this school year.