Cruelty to animals is a crime, but in terms of being reported as a crime on the National Incident Based Reporting System, instances of animal cruelty have always been reported under the category of “all other offenses”. The U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced that this practice is about to change and that instances of animal cruelty will be reported as their own crime, WCVB5 News reports. Continue reading →
Anna Nelson, a 51-year-old former animal control officer, was charged Monday April 29 with animal cruelty in Wareham District Court. The government alleges that Nelson withheld veterinary care for her sick dog. The defendant allegedly told an MSPCA investigator that she was “too proud” to seek care for the dog.
A neighbor allegedly reported the dog’s poor condition to an animal control officer in December. The neighbor allegedly told the officer that the dog, a terrier mix, was emaciated and could barely stand without collapsing. The officer took the dog to a veterinarian, who concluded that the dog’s condition was likely caused by negligence and an underlying disease process. The dog was ultimately put to sleep. The government claims that Nelson admitted to being the dog’s owner and told investigators that she could not afford veterinary treatment. She allegedly said that she did not seek help because her “pride got in the way.” Nelson was arrested on April 27, and her pre-trial date is presently scheduled for June 13.
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 272, section 77 governs the crime of cruelty to animals. In addition to prohibiting cruelly beating, mutilating, and killing animals, the statute prohibits unnecessarily failing to provide an animal “with proper food, drink, shelter, sanitary environment, or protection from the weather…”
Marc Appleton, a 30-year-old Gloucester man, has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly breaking a dog’s leg. It is alleged that three witnesses heard the dog, which belonged to Appleton’s roommate, crying after two loud thumps. One neighbor told police that the dog was not outside until after the dog was heard crying. One witness found the dog in the bushes with a swollen leg and advised Appleton to take the dog to the animal hospital. This witness claims that Appleton admitted to “smacking” the dog after he discovered that it had chewed his DVD and urinated on the floor. Appleton allegedly told police that the dog was hit by a car. He denied hitting the dog. Appleton allegedly took the dog, a beagle mix named Buddy, to his roommate’s work place and told the roommate that the dog had been hit by a car. The two men took the dog to the hospital, and Appleton allegedly agreed to pay for the medical bills, which totaled $4,900.
Just weeks ago, John Dugan, another Gloucester man, was charged with animal cruelty after allegedly disemboweling his dog. In that case, prosecutors allege that Dugan, 26, killed the dog because it ate a large amount of heroin and then dumped its body behind a building. Police searched Dugan’s home and found a pit bull, an electronic scale, and plastic sandwich bags, items allegedly associated with drug distribution.
The cases referenced above will likely be prosecuted aggressively, and the defendants will need the help of experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers. The government may take a hard-line approach because certain studies indicate that those who abuse animals are likely to become violent towards people down the line. Animal abuse is used by F.B.I. profilers as a major factor in assessing the likelihood of future violence.