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Woman in dog overdose case again fails to show up for court appearance

By Howard B. Owens

A woman accused of injuring an animal after her dog overdosed three times on narcotics earlier this summer once again failed to appear in City Court on Thursday.

Cassandra Elmore was ordered to appear at 1:30 p.m. and was not seen in court by the time Judge Thomas Burns called her case at 3:20 p.m.

He said a court clerk had received a call earlier in the day from a man who claimed to be an attorney from Pennsylvania and that he was calling on Elmore's behalf, claiming that Elmore had tried contacting her assigned attorney multiple times and her calls were not returned.

Burns said the man provided only a partial address, no phone number, and said his secretary would be in touch with the court.  The man also did not file a motion to change attorneys, Burns noted.

At no time, Burns said, did the clerk say Elmore was excused from her scheduled appearance today.

Elmore faces three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.  She reportedly took her dog, Oddey, to veterinarians with apparent drug overdoses after the dog, according to police reports, licked up white powder from the kitchen floor.

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Elmore did make her initial court appearance on the case on July 26, when she asked for time to hire an attorney.

On Aug. 11, Elmore failed to show for an ordered court appearance. On that date, a woman who identified herself as a friend of Elmore called and said Elmore was hospitalized.  The caller was informed that the court needed proof of the hospitalization but no proof was sent to the court before her scheduled appearance.

Burns issued a warrant for Elmore's arrest but when The Batavian checked with Batavia PD on the status of the warrant more than a week later, a spokesman for the department said the department never received a warrant for Elmore.

Elmore was arrested on Aug. 30 following a traffic stop in Batavia and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and obstruction of governmental administration.

During today's hearing, Jamie Welch, with the Public Defender's Office, said he was unaware of any messages left for him by Elmore. 

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bauer told Burns that her office was not contacted by any other attorney claiming to represent Elmore.  She also noted that it took Elmore two months to complete the paperwork required for the Public Defender's Office to represent her.

Following her Aug. 30 arrest, Elmore was ordered to appear in City Court on those charges at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Burns said she was going to be arraigned on those charges today, so he issued an arrest warrant related to those charges. He also issued two bench warrants for her failure to appear on the two injuring an animal charges.

At the time of her arrest on the animal charges, Elmore lived on River Street.  Welch provided the court with a new residential address for her on East Main Street.  Welch said he would be sending her a letter informing her of her court appearances and would attempt to reach her by phone.

Oddey remains at the animal shelter. Oddey is doing well, according to a member of Volunteers for Animals, but he can't be sent to a foster home or put up for adoption while the legal case against Elmore is pending or until she surrenders ownership.


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