Rockingham County woman pleads guilty to starting fire that killed a dog

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (Dec. 6, 2019):

Left: Madalyn Irie Lambert ; Right: Don Ledford Bowling, Jr. | Mugshots provided by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office

A Rockingham County woman will serve time in prison for starting a garage fire that killed a dog this past summer.

Madalyn Lambert pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Circuit Court this week to multiple charges, including arson, animal cruelty, and possession of schedule 1 or drugs.

The charges were in connected to a garage fire in Singers Glen on July 23. When first responders extinguished the flames and combed through the debris, they discovered that a dog trapped inside the garage had died in the fire.

As the fire marshal investigated, the cause of the fire was determined to be arson, and Madalyn Irie Lambert, of Rockingham County, and Don Ledford Bowling, Jr., of Dayton, were both arrested and charged with arson and felony animal cruelty leading to the death of a dog.

Late last month, the charges against Bowling Jr. were each dropped in Rockingham County General District Court.

Lambert, on the other hand, was sentenced on Thursday, receiving one year for animal cruelty, three years for drug possession, and ten years for arson. The animal cruelty charge to which she pleaded guilty was a misdemeanor, rather than the felony she was originally charged with,.

Of the sentences, which totaled 14 years, 12 and a half years were suspended, leaving Lambert with one and a half years of active prison time with three years of probation afterward.

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Two people were recently arrested for arson in connection to a Rockingham County fire in late July.

According to Rockingham County Fire and Rescue, crews responded around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 23, to a garage fire in Singers Glen.

When first responders extinguished the flames and combed through the debris, they discovered that a dog trapped inside the garage had died in the fire.

The fire marshal determined the cause to be arson, and on Friday, July 26, Don Ledford Bowling, Jr., of Dayton, and Madalyn Irie Lambert, of Rockingham County, were both arrested.

Bowling and Lambert were each charged with felony counts of arson and felony counts of animal cruelty to the death of the dog.

Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam signed 'Tommie's Law,' which made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia.