An Enfield man was cited for animal cruelty Wednesday after eight Labrador mix dogs died at his home and another six were rescued in what state officials called one of the worst animal neglect cases they have seen.
Jonathan Peare of Darlings Estate Road was summoned for animal cruelty. If found guilty, he could be fined as much as $2,000, serve a one-year prison sentence or be banned from owning animals, said Norma Worley, state animal welfare director.
Worley didn’t know Peare’s court date, and his age was not available.
Meanwhile, four of the six neglected dogs are recovering at the Penobscot Valley Humane Society’s shelter in Lincoln, shelter manager Meg Crocker-Curtis said.
The two other dogs will likely have to be euthanized, she said. They have severe demodectic mange, an inflammatory disease caused by various types of Demodex mite. The disease can lead to skin lesions, genetic disorders, problems with the immune system and hair loss, according to petmd.com.
A seventh dog he might have owned is rebounding, as are three cats.
“From our perspective, this case certainly ranks up there in the top 10, but for other people, it might seem like the worst,” Worley said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we see this sort of thing fairly often.”
A woman believed to be Peare’s girlfriend might face an animal cruelty summons, Worley said.
The eight dead dogs were found and the others rescued when Peare voluntarily gave them to state police and animal control officers at his home on Monday, according to Worley.
The dogs apparently had been malnourished and thirsty and were covered with their own feces, Crocker-Curtis said.
“When I gave them each their own water, they gulped it down so fast and I had to refill for all of them,” she said. “I’ve never seen dogs so thirsty.”
Officials cited Peare because it was the quickest way to take legal action, Worley said. Animal control officers continue to prepare paperwork to give to District Attorney R. Christopher Almy for prosecution, possibly through a grand jury.
The dogs have been given de-worming medication and their vaccination shots, but state officials didn’t want them washed until their condition had been fully documented, so the stench around them was overwhelming, even for Crocker-Curtis, who has worked at the shelter for 15 years.
“It’s horrendous,” she said Wednesday. “Once we got them outside, we washed everything down with bleach. They will all have their baths tomorrow.”
Veterinarian Dr. Joseph Nesin of the Chester Animal Hospital will examine the dogs over the next few days, Crocker-Curtis said.
Two dogs that are pregnant were inbred, which might lead to their being spayed, she said.
Why Peare had the animals is unknown. He is not a licensed commercial breeder, Worley said.
“Usually when people have unaltered dogs or cats, the animals will breed and have puppies and a lot of people do get overwhelmed,” Worley said.
People have rallied to the surviving dogs. Jaki Cyr of Lee and Nancy Hustus, a production assistant at the Lincoln News, each brought a case of canned dog food to the shelter on Wednesday.
“I know that [shelter workers] are always looking for food donations,” Hustus said, “but when you all of a sudden get hit with all these dogs, you need a little bit more.”
“I have a black Lab myself, and to think of this case, God, it’s horrible,” Cyr said.
The surviving animals will be offered for adoption. The dogs will be sold for $200 to cover their medical expenses, Crocker-Curtis said. Any not adopted will be euthanized. Anyone interested in buying the dogs should visit the shelter starting Wednesday, March 24, to give them time to heal.
“With some time and attention, they will make good pets,” Crocker-Curtis said. “We are not going to let them go until we are sure of their temperament and their health.”
WHO: Penobscot Valley Humane Society shelter
WHAT: A shelter dedicated to helping find homes for stray dogs, cats and other pets
WHERE: 1 Park Ave., Lincoln, 794-3457
WHEN: Open weekdays 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating food, money or other needed items to the shelter is asked to call shelter manager Meg Crocker-Curtis or to drop donated items off at the shelter during business hours.
SOURCE: Penobscot Valley Humane Society shelter