Dedham animal cruelty case to go to trial

Posted Nov. 24, 2010, at 6:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:06 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The case of a Dedham woman accused of not doing enough to take care of animals on her property has been continued until mid-December, when it is expected to go to trial, according to attorneys involved in the case.

Jean Marie Ahern of 856 Bald Mountain Road is facing two civil charges of cruelty to animals. She is expected to go to trial on those charges on Dec. 15, according to documents on file in Ellsworth District Court.

One of those charges stems from early October when state animal welfare agents removed six horses and two cats from Ahern’s property.

According to William Entwisle, assistant Hancock County district attorney, the other charge involves the same horses and dates from early 2010. No animals were seized in the earlier case, he said Wednesday.

Entwisle said that because the two charges involved similar accusations about the same animals they likely would be combined into one case.

The prosecutor said the animals still are in state custody. They were taken in October because, after agents with Maine Animal Welfare program received complaints, they found that Ahern was away and had not left them adequate food and water or made arrangements for their care while she was gone, state officials have said.

Without going into detail, Entwisle said the condition of the animals also was a concern for state animal welfare agents.

Ahern is contesting the charges and seeking to have the state return her animals. Entwisle said he had discussions with Ahern’s attorney, Stephen C. Smith of Bangor, about a possible settlement but that he now expected that the scheduled trial would go forward.

The settlement attempts “did not come to fruition,” the prosecutor said.

Smith said Wednesday that the case was continued from Monday, Nov. 22, largely because of scheduling conflicts. He said the trial likely will take longer than officials had initially expected.

“It will be a full-day trial,” Smith said.

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