Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Woman charged with neglect after dogs seized


An elderly woman has been charged with animal neglect after police and officials from the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire removed 44 small dogs from squalid surroundings.

On Tuesday, Virginia Smith, 78, was charged with one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty and neglect after police and staff from the Animal Rescue League, acting on a warrant, removed 44 shih tzus, Yorkshire terriers, Maltese and poodles from Smith’s small house on Francestown Turnpike.

Smith’s husband, Roland, died at the couple’s home on March 1, and police and emergency responders became aware of the squalid conditions the elderly couple and the dogs had been living in, according to the warrant affidavit filed at Milford District Court last Friday by Police Chief Kyle Aspinwall.

Aspinwall said that he tried to convince Smith to surrender the animals, but had difficulty convincing her to let them go, so he sought a warrant to enter the house and remove the dogs, and enlisted the help of the Animal Rescue League in Bedford.

On Tuesday morning, police executed the warrant and Smith agreed to surrender 22 of the dogs, signing over custody of them to the Animal Rescue League. However, she refused to voluntarily surrender the other 22 dogs, Aspinwall said.

“The condition of these dogs is the worst I have ever seen,” said Maureen Prendergast in a press release from the Rescue League. “All of them are covered in fecal matter and severely matted. When we entered the area where they were kept, I observed many of them exhibiting a compulsive spinning behavior which is often indicative of animals kept in confinement for excessive periods of time.”..." More