Mother Says Woman in Animal Shelter Break-in Mentally Ill, Addicted

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Updated: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 09:18:16 EST

As Crystal Gale Fessler was appearing before a magistrate Friday, the 36-year-old woman's mother said Fessler lives on the streets, suffers from bipolar disorder and regularly abuses over-the-counter drugs and alcohol.

Fessler was formally charged with criminal trespass and 13 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the break-in last month at an animal shelter.

The Oct. 17 break-in at the All About Animals shelter left dozens of dogs outside their kennels and resulted in the deaths of three dogs and injuries to several others.

Fessler's mother was interviewed by WGXA's Malcolm Johnson, although the woman refused to state her name or talk on camera in an effort to protect two of Fessler's four children, who are in her care.

The woman said her daughter suffered from bipolar disorder, was regularly on drugs and drunk, and couldn't take care of her children.

The woman said Fessler's husband had been in the military and that her daughter started drinking to excess when her husband was deployed overseas.

In the magistrate hearing at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center, Fessler waived a commitment hearing. Her bond was set at $9,100. She was ordered to stay away from the shelter, any weapons or drugs, and to keep from violating other laws.


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