June 21, 2018
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State seeks to take ownership of 26 animals from jailed Hope woman

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The state has asked a district court judge to allow it to take ownership of horses, donkeys, cockatiels and other animals seized from a woman who has been jailed for the past few weeks after she violated a court order by visiting her dying husband in the hospital.

A motion was filed by the Knox County District Attorney’s Office to seize the animals owned by Margaret Tracy, 55, of Hope. The animals — two horses, two donkeys, one goat, two cockatiels, six cats, two dogs, three ducks and eight chickens — already have been removed from Tracy’s house and barn, but the court order is necessary for the state to take ownership and find other homes for the animals.

According to an affidavit filed Jan. 29 in Rockland District Court, the state is seeking ownership of the animals because of the poor conditions in which they were living. A hearing initially scheduled for Monday was postponed to March 11 because Tracy was in jail.

Hope Animal Control Officer Suzanne White stated in the affidavit that she went to Tracy’s home last month after a neighbor contacted White with concerns about the conditions of the animals. Hope Animal Control Officer Court Bennett said Tuesday that White had visited the home and barn less than a week after Tracy had gone to jail.

The affidavit stated that Tracy told a neighbor before going to jail that she would not be able to care for the animals and wanted someone to take them.

The animals had no heat or water, the house was filthy and cluttered, and the barn was filled with feces, according to the affidavit.

The horses were taken by the state and the other animals were taken to the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County shelter in Thomaston, according to Bennett.

The cocker spaniels, cats and cockatiels were in the house, which had no heat, and the other animals were in the barn with no food and frozen water containers, according to the affidavit.

White stated in the document that the animals were in poor condition that put them at risk.

Tracy was arrested Jan. 25 and charged with violating a protective order of the court for visiting her husband on Jan. 24 at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. The husband was dying and passed away later that day, according to court records. Other relatives who were there reported her violation of the court order to police, who then arrested Tracy.

She had been barred from contact with her husband following her being charged in September for domestic violence assault against him, according to court papers. No further information on that charge was available Tuesday.

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