ENFIELD, Maine — Animal Control Officer Bruce Hallett will regularly inspect the home of a man convicted of animal cruelty in a case where 14 Labrador mix dogs died to ensure that the man obeys his sentencing conditions, the chairman of the Board of Selectmen said Wednesday.
Chairman Rick Smart and other board members agreed during a recent meeting that Jonathan Peare’s house should be inspected, which the conditions allow. On Wednesday, Smart and Town Manager Michael Pearce said the inspection hadn’t yet occurred.
“It’s not going to be an every week kind of deal,” Smart said Wednesday of the inspections. “We just want to make sure nothing bad happens again.”
The 28-year-old Peare owned 25 of 27 dogs at a trailer on Darlings Estate Road, where he still resides, and on Warsaw Circle in Lincoln, in which the animals were found in mid-March to be living in conditions so filthy that 14 of them had to be euthanized, officials said.
Animal control workers said the 12 dogs found in Lincoln on March 20 were in almost identical shape to the 15 dogs discovered in Enfield on March 16. Eight of the Enfield dogs were found dead, while the rest stank horribly of feces and urine, were malnourished and were surrounded by filthy conditions, according to officials.
Peare apparently owned 10 of the 12 dogs found in Lincoln and all of the dogs found in Enfield. The rest reportedly were owned by a relative, state officials said. Peare apparently kept the Warsaw Circle dogs with his girlfriend and possibly with her parents.
In exchange for Peare’s guilty plea, Lincoln District Court Judge Kevin Stitham dismissed all but one of eight counts of animal cruelty charges on Sept. 7 and fined him $500, court officials have said.
In addition to the fine, Stitham sentenced Peare on Sept. 7 to 90 days in jail with all but 14 suspended and banned Peare from owning more than one dog at a time for life. He ordered that the one dog Peare is allowed to own must be spayed or neutered, court officials said.
Peare must notify court officials within 24 hours of any change of address and cannot live with anyone else who owns pets, court officials said.
Stitham made Peare agree that animal control officers, police and state animal welfare officials could subject Peare’s home to random searches in response to complaints or to ensure the safety of his dog.
Peare must provide his local animal control officer with an annual veterinary report on the dog he is allowed to have, court officials said.
Peare could have been fined as much as $2,000 and served a one-year prison sentence on each of the eight animal cruelty counts, state officials have said.
If Peare violates his sentencing conditions, he could face a contempt of court or similar charge.
An agent with the Maine Animal Welfare Program called Peare’s case among the worst she had ever seen and expressed satisfaction with Stitham’s sentence, saying that animal cruelty cases seldom result in jail sentences.