Dog Deaths Lead to Felony Animal Cruelty Conviction for Lawrence Woman

May 10, 2013

BOSTON May 10, 2013 – On Wednesday, May 8 Judge Michael Brooks of Lawrence District Court found defendant Raisa Reyes guilty of felony animal cruelty for failing to provide sufficient food which ultimately led to the death of her two-year-old Pit Bull “Jada” last year.  Reyes, of Lawrence, Mass., has been sentenced to three months in jail, which she will likely serve in an area house of corrections. 

The MSPCA-Angell filed the charges against Reyes in October 2012.

MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Martha Parkhurst first investigated the case last fall after receiving a complaint from the Lawrence Animal Control office.  Upon entering Reyes’ home she found a deceased dog wrapped in a plastic bag, later identified as one-year-old Havanese “Niko,” and Jada, who was severely underweight and suffering from multiple related health problems.  Jada was transferred to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen, where she was humanely euthanized after veterinarians determined she was too ill to be saved.

 Reyes' dog "Raisa" was so emaciated and ill that she had to be euthanized (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

Animal cruelty convictions leading to jail time are still relatively rare in Massachusetts, a fact not lost on Officer Parkhurst. “I’m very pleased with the court’s decision and feel like justice has been served for Jada and Niko,” she said.  “I want to thank Assistant District Attorney Annaliese Wolf for her meticulous prosecution of the case, and for Judge Brooks for underscoring the increased severity with which crimes against animals are punished.”

The MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement team works with the organization’s adoption centers, hospital and advocacy experts to investigate animal abuse in Massachusetts.  In 2012 the department investigated over 2,000 animal cruelty complaints around the Commonwealth. 



The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit