ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — A Columbia woman on trial for animal cruelty contends her husband was responsible for the 40 dead animals found in her townhouse in January.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Elizabeth Lindenau’s trial began Thursday in Ellicott City.

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She and her husband Brady Decker are both charged with 69 counts of animal cruelty. His arraignment was set for Friday.

Lindenau’s lawyer Jonathan Smith said in his opening statement that the couple had recently moved out of the townhouse. He said Decker was supposed to feed the animals they left behind.

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Police say the dead animals included birds, cats, rabbits, a guinea pig and a snake.

Prosecutor Tiffany Avira said the case epitomizes animal cruelty. She says the animal deaths were no accident.

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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)