Case Snapshot
Case ID: 14423
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Attorneys/Judges
Prosecutor(s): Scarlett Scannell
Defense(s): Jeffrey M. Chasse
Judge(s): Neil G. Snider


For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.



Thursday, Aug 7, 2008

County: Worcester

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged:
» Rebecca Cook
» Arthur Mantha

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Animal Control Officer Brent W. Sellew vomited from the smell from a dying dog with large open sores infested with maggots.

Behind an apartment building on the morning of Aug. 7 and chained to a rundown wooden doghouse with "thousands of flies" around it, authorities said, they found Nikkia.

The 12-year-old male husky, owned by Rebecca Cook and her son, Arthur Mantha, has since been euthanized.

Ms. Cook, 53, and her 19-year-old son, of 231 Stafford St., have been summoned to Dudley District Court for an Oct. 3 arraignment to each face a count of cruelty to an animal.

The dog was in extreme pain because of maggot infestation, both externally and in the area of its anus, according to a report filed by Joseph L. Cadrin, an abuse and cruelty investigator for the Worcester Animal Rescue League.

According to Mr. Cadrin's report, which was processed yesterday at the Dudley court, Dr. Emily Neenan said she could hear the maggots consuming the dog's flesh in the examination room at VCA Abbott Animal Hospital, Worcester.

The infestation was so deep the dog's hair was falling out during the examination. The level of bacteria in the dog's bloodstream "could have easily caused damage to internal organs," the report said.

The postmortem report stated the dog showed no signs of rabies. Officer Sellew was concerned because it was not known when Nikkia had last been to a veterinarian or if he had been vaccinated for rabies. Several residents had been in contact with the dog, he said.

Mr. Cadrin arrived about two hours after Officer Sellew, because the investigator had to respond to an accident on Interstate 290.

The dog was dirty, cried constantly, and laid on its stomach with its legs spread. It was not moving, as if paralyzed. Mr. Cadrin said he put the dog on a stretcher and into his SUV, where flies followed.

A tenant of Ms. Cook who lives in the building reported the sick dog to the Animal Rescue League. The tenant, also a nurse, said she had tried to clean a large sore on the dog's hind area that was rotting away from maggot infestation, police said.

The tenant mentioned that the owners never cared for the dog and didn't want anyone to go near him. The owners had allegedly placed a sign to stay away and not feed it, police said.

The owners allegedly told the investigator they didn't know why the dog had been in its condition. Ms. Cook, according to the report, said the dog had been "walking all right" the previous day.


Case Updates

Ginger L. Cummings' dachshund, Gilbert, barked outside Dudley District Court.

"She's mad," Ms. Cummings said. "You speak for him. You speak for Nikkia."

Ms. Cummings was one of three protesters expressing outrage at the allegedly painful and cruel final days of Nikkia, a 12-year-old husky.


Authorities said the dog had to be euthanized because of maggot infestation. They found him behind his Charlton owner's apartment building the morning of Aug. 7, chained to a rundown wooden doghouse with thousands of flies around it.

Inside the courthouse this morning, Rebecca Cook, 53, and her son, Arthur Mantha, 19, both of 231 Stafford St., pleaded not guilty to one count each of cruelty to an animal.

Judge Neil G. Snider advised the two, who appeared on summonses, to get separate lawyers and released them on personal recognizance. Assistant District Attorney Scarlett Scannell did not request bail, telling the judge the two did not have prior criminal records.

Pretrial hearings were scheduled for Nov. 14.

Their lawyer, Jeffrey M. Chasse of Sturbridge, told a reporter outside the courthouse to "have a nice day" and left. Mr. Mantha said the family had no comment.

Upon learning of their status, Ms. Cummings, of Ayer, said, "Released?"

Her mother, Frances Cummings, 78, of Charlton, was acquainted with the deceased dog. Another daughter, Gina Cummings, had lived upstairs for 10 years "and saw what was going on."

The mother said, "I would always wait and sneak and feed that dog. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous dog. It was absolutely just beautiful, and they never took the dog in from the rain, they never put the dog in a shelter, they never did nothing for the dog," which she said always was heavily chained.

Mrs. Cummings spent much of the protest in a car. She said courthouse authorities warned her of the possibility of an arrest.

"I was right in front of the courthouse with two signs," she said.

The other protester, Connie M. Pion, came with her Corgi mix, named Whiskey-Trigger-Biscuit. Ms. Pion described herself as "an animal lover, large and small, from Southbridge. I will take anything in that's abused or hurt or in need."

Ms. Pion said the alleged crime was "just disgusting. I can't understand why someone would do something like that. Give it (the dog) away."

The trio noted the low turnout, but promised to return for the pretrial hearings with more people.

A report filed by Joseph L. Cadrin, an abuse and cruelty investigator for the Worcester Animal Rescue League, said the dog was in extreme pain because of maggot infestation, both externally and in the area of its anus.

It was found dirty, cried constantly, and laid on its stomach with its legs spread, he stated. It was not moving, as if paralyzed. Mr. Cadrin said he put the dog on a stretcher and into his sport utility vehicle, where flies followed.

The owners allegedly told the investigator they did not know why the dog had been in its condition. Ms. Cook, according to the report, said the dog had been "walking all right" the previous day.

According to Mr. Cadrin's report, Dr. Emily Neenan said she could hear the maggots consuming the dog's flesh in the examination room at VCA Abbott Animal Hospital in Worcester.

The infestation was so deep the dog's hair was falling out during the examination. The level of bacteria in the dog's bloodstream "could have easily caused damage to internal organs," the report said.
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette - Oct 3, 2008
Update posted on Oct 5, 2008 - 11:03PM 

References

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