Maine woman found guilty of animal cruelty

Posted May 22, 2009, at 9:50 a.m.

BATH, Maine — A Maine judge has found a 79-year-old Somerville woman guilty of 15 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

But Justice Andrew Horton suspended a series of jail sentences, suggesting Fern Clark was not deliberately cruel but instead was overwhelmed by the number of animals she had accumulated.

Clark was accused of 21 animal cruelty charges after state animal welfare agents seized 66 live dogs, two dead dogs, four cats and a bird from Clark’s home on Jan. 19, 2008.

Clark’s attorney, Andrews Campbell, had asked the judge to acquit Clark, saying a woman “who knows each animal by name and relates to each as her best friend, spending over half of her income on her animals each month,” could not have meant to harm them.

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