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Woman who allegedly starved German shepherd headed to trial

MERRIMACK – While court filings have not yet detailed the circumstances behind a troubling episode of alleged animal neglect and cruelty in Merrimack, the 20-year-old suspect, Alexa Mei Cho, has opted to take the case to trial.

Cho, of 48 Brek Drive, faces four charges stemming from her arrest earlier this month, when police were finally able to catch up with her after officers discovered a severely malnourished German shepherd locked in an abandoned house at 17 Sycamore Drive.

Cho, who was booked on the charges and later released on personal recognizance bail, is accused of two counts of animal cruelty, Class A misdemeanors, and one count each of failing to license a dog and failing to vaccinate the dog against rabies, both violation-level offenses.

Unless an agreement is reached ahead of time, Cho’s trial will begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 3 in Merrimack district court.

The cruelty charges accuse Cho of “negligently depriving her German shepherd dog (of) necessary care” by allegedly keeping the dog confined inside the residence and not providing proper exercise, and exposing her dog … to inhumane treatment by locking the dog in a confined space full of fecal matter and discarded hair,” according to the charging documents.

The dog, “Turbo,” reportedly lived at the residence since sometime in 2018, and estimates are he may have been abandoned for up to four months.

Both the Sycamore Drive and Brek Drive homes are owned by members of the Cho family, according to town property records. A Cho family trust is listed as the owner of Sycamore, while two people with the last name Cho own the Brek Drive residence.

Meanwhile, Cho last week entered not guilty pleas to the charges and waived formal arraignment. She is represented by Manchester-based Attorney Olivier Sakellarios, according to court documents.

According to Cho’s bail order, she agreed to surrender Turbo to the custody of police, who promptly removed him from the home and transported him to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford.

There, Turbo began “receiving significant veterinary care,” the judge wrote in the bail order.

Other terms of the order prohibit Cho from “acquiring, owning, or being responsible for any animal” in any fashion, the order states.

She must remain on good behavior, attend all required court appearances, and notify the court of any change of address.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.