Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16179
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, cow
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Prosecutor(s): Ellen Donohue
Judge(s): Ray Dayton

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

Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009

County: Deer Lodge

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: James Victor Bentcik

An Anaconda man was sentenced on February 3, 2010, in district court after investigating officers found dead and neglected animals in his trailer last summer.

James Victor Bentcik, 59, pleaded guilty before Judge Ray Dayton to a pair of animal cruelty misdemeanors, and for each was given one-year suspended jail sentences to run concurrently.

Bentcik must also pay a $500 fine, $490 restitution for care and treatment of the recovered pets and is prohibited from owning any other animals for one year.

The state originally charged Bentcik with felony aggravated animal cruelty, but worked out a plea agreement lowering the charges to misdemeanors in exchange for guilty pleas. Bentcik had pleaded not guilty to the felony on Sept. 2.

On July 26, 2009, officers received a report from a neighbor in Galen Village that there was a dead, decaying dog in the yard outside Bentcik's trailer. Both she and another neighbor stated they had not seen Bentcik for several weeks, according to court documents.

Officers arrived and found the dead dog. They then entered the trailer, observing "a total mess and the smell of cat urine and feces." Fourteen cats were left in the trailer, all of which were thin and some of which had ear mites. Officers did not see that any of the animals had food or water. They were taken to the Anaconda Vet Clinic.

Bentcik is living at a motel in Deer Lodge, Deputy County Attorney Ellen Donohue said.


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