MSPCA-Angell Pursues Felony Convictions in Two Separate Animal Cruelty Cases

April 4, 2013

BOSTON, April 4, 2013– The MSPCA-Angell’s Law Enforcement department announced today it has filed animal cruelty charges in two separate cases.  The first is against Anna Nelson, a former animal control officer, of Wareham, Mass. for failing to provide veterinary care for her diseased and emaciated dog, which was ultimately euthanized.  The second charge is filed against Dennis Murray, also of Wareham, who abandoned his severely neglected dog at the Onset Water Department on a frigid day, after telling his family he was taking the dog to the veterinarian.  

Sick, Severely Underweight and Abandoned Outside

Murray will be arraigned in Wareham District Court on April 18, 2013 after admitting to MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement Officer Chris Charbonneau that he abandoned his 13-year-old poodle mix at the water department on a blustery and cold January day.  The dog—suffering from severe eye and ear infections due to neglect—was discovered by a department employee, who wrapped her in a sweater and brought her inside.  Wareham Animal Control Officer Joseph Singleton then took the dog to a local veterinarian.  A dental examination revealed that in addition to her other health woes, the dog was suffering from extreme gingivitis and receding gum lines.  As a result 14 of the dog’s teeth had to be removed.  The dog, now named “Chara,” survived her ordeal and has been adopted into a new home. 

 
 13-year-old "Chara" was abanonded at the Onset Water Department on a frigid January day.  She was underweight and suffering from severe eye, ear and gum disease.  Her former owner faces felony animal cruelty charges (credit: Wareham Week/Jaime Rebhan)

Murray said he dumped the dog at the water department because he worried that veterinary care would be too expensive.  Withholding of veterinary care is a violation of the state’s animal cruelty law, and Murray has been charged accordingly.

A Neighbor’s Frantic Call Comes Too Late for Family Dog
Nelson will be arraigned in Wareham District Court on April 24.  She is facing animal cruelty charges after failing to provide veterinary care as her 10-year-old terrier mix’s health began to decline over a period of several months.  A veterinary evaluation revealed the dog was suffering from an undiagnosed disease and was severely underweight, such that his ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones were all protruding.  He was so sick that he ultimately had to be euthanized. 

 
 This 10-year-old dog was too ill to be saved and had to be euthanized.  His previous owner -- the former animal control officer for the town of Wareham, Mass. -- is charged with felony animal cruelty (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

“Every case of animal cruelty is heart-wrenching to witness,” said Officer Charbonneau.  “These cases are especially tragic as the suffering and pain endured by these two dogs was 100 percent preventable had they only been seen by a veterinarian.  It’s encouraging to see both cases moving forward and I’m confident that justice will be served on behalf of the dogs.”

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. 

 

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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 www.mspca.org.