Pass Christian duo charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty make initial court appearance
Richard and Ethel Ross made their initial court hearing today in Pass Christian regarding their animal cruelty charges.
The couple was arrested Friday and charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty after law enforcement seized 69 dogs and one cat from their Pass Christian home.
The court set their trial date for next Wednesday and, if found guilty, the two could face up to 35 years in prison and pay up to $70,000 in fines.
Mr. Ross was also charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult after law enforcement found the couple’s daughter living in the house with them. $1,500 was added to his bond, making his total $5,000 while Ethel Ross’ bond sits at $3,500.
Pass Christian Chief of Police Daren Freeman said, “It’s a horrific incident. It shocked everyone because, everyone in town, we’re all animal lovers. We’re going to do our part and investigate this thoroughly and bring them to justice. Now this is my first in 30 years of law enforcement. I’ve never seen this many. I know there are others out there, but in Pass Christian, we just haven’t had anything like this happen.”
The defendants plan to plead not guilty on all charges.