Margaret Kinsella is the Florida woman accused of intentionally drowning her dog in the bathtub and is now facing a felony charge of animal cruelty.
According to court documents, Kinsella confessed to investigators that she had drowned her pet because the animal would not stop barking and had bitten her. She added that she had been under increased stress due to recent deaths in her family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Maintenance Worker Heard Screams Coming From the Bathroom On the Day the Dog Drowned
The death of the dog occurred on November 5, 2019, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Maintenance workers went to Margaret Kinsella’s home in Bradenton, Florida, to inspect her air conditioning unit.
One of the workers, identified as Alfredo Asia, told investigators that Kinsella took her brown Labrador out of its kennel for a walk. When she returned, she took the dog into the bathroom. Asia said he heard loud screaming from the bathroom and cracked the door open to ask Kinsella if she needed help. She declined any help.
Less than 3 minutes later, Asia said he heard Kinsella and the dog both screaming again, but louder this time. He opened the bathroom door fully and saw the dog floating in the bathtub. Asia told deputies that he rushed in, lifted the dog out of the tub and placed it on the bathroom floor.
2. Margaret Kinsella Admitted to Drowning Her Dog Due to Increased Anxiety & Depression, Police Say
According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, Margaret Kinsella confessed to drowning her dog on purpose. She told investigators that she had been feeling depressed and anxious over the past year. She cited the recent deaths of her father and husband as the cause.
Kinsella said that the dog had been adding to her anxiety because it barked all the time. She also said the dog was known to bite her on occasion. Kinsella said she finally felt angry enough at the dog to drown it.
Kinsella was transported to Manatee Memorial Hospital at the time.
3. Kinsella Was Arrested a Few Weeks Later After an Autopsy Confirmed the Dog Had Been Drowned
An autopsy performed on the dog confirmed that the animal had been drowned. In mid-December 2019, a warrant was issued for Margaret Kinsella’s arrest.
Kinsella was arrested on a charge of Aggravated Animal Cruelty, which is a third-degree felony. Prosecutors determined that Kinsella “did intentionally commit an act to Marshal, an adult male Chocolate Labrador Retriever, which resulted in the cruel death or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.”
Kinsella posted $5,000 bond and was released from custody.
4. Animal Cruelty Is Now a Federal Offense As Well As a State Crime
“A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.”
Individual states have their own laws regarding animal cruelty. But in November 2019, President Trump signed a law that made animal cruelty a federal offense as well. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act allows investigators to prosecute cases that cross state lines.
5. Margaret Kinsella Worked as a Sales Rep, According to the Criminal Complaint
Margaret Kinsella’s now-former employer was listed on the criminal complaint as “International Wood Floors.” It’s a flooring store in Sarasota. According to a company spokesperson, Kinsella is no longer with the company.
A LinkedIn profile under the name Margaret (Meg) Kinsella shows that she had been working in the home construction industry for nearly two decades, primarily in sales roles. Kinsella previously worked at a company called Montgomery’s Carpets Plus; photos of Kinsella with her name tag were found here.
In regards to Kinsella’s claim that she has been depressed due to recent deaths in her family, a search of online records brings up an obituary for Donald Ashby Kinsella, who appears to be Kinsella’s father and passed away in February of 2018. The names of his four sons match a list of Kinsella’s relatives. The obituary also notes that “Meg’s” husband’s first name was Steven, but an obituary for him does not appear to be available online.