Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17320
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
More cases in Worcester County, MA
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Child or elder neglect
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Sunday, Aug 1, 2010

County: Worcester

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged:
» Alfred Judson
» Rita Lafortune-Judson

Nine counts of animal cruelty have been filed against a local couple who police allegedly found living in squalor in their home at 201 Baldwin St. last August.

Alfred Judson, 79, and his wife, Rita Lafortune-Judson, 63, were arraigned yesterday in Western Worcester District Court in East Brookfield on nine counts each of animal cruelty, months after police wrote in a report that they found Ms. Lafortune-Judson, "on her hands and knees … with a bucket of water, sponge and butter knife scraping the feces off of the wood floor" while her husband sat on the porch.

"There was not a place that you could stand that you were not standing in feces," Officer Julie Berry wrote in her report.

The town's animal control officer had seized some of the cats and dogs living at the house on Aug. 11, and a minor child, whose bed was a urine-soaked box spring on the floor topped by a mattress, was sent to live elsewhere (though she answered the telephone at the residence last night). The following day police visited with animal control and the health board, which was set to condemn the home.

Police found clothing and furniture strewn about, a pile of dog feces shoveled onto a deck, dog bowls filled with urine and feces, and a swimming pool of green water.

Officials decided to give the couple a chance to clean up the property, and the Fire Department assisted in pumping out the pool. Other agencies also offered assistance, but as time went on, only a small amount of progress was made, police said. In October, a visit to the home revealed feces on the stairs and a large amount of clutter, Officer Berry wrote.

"The smell was acidic and stomach turning, it lasted with me for the rest of the day," she wrote.

The couple was summoned to court to face the animal cruelty charges, which could net them 2-1/2 years in the House of Correction on each of the nine counts.

The charges represent one count each for the total of nine cats and dogs that were neglected. Police Chief James J. Hurley said state animal cruelty laws apply to animals mistreated through neglect.

Chief Hurley said, "This is a difficult situation where the town went above and beyond, but the level of cooperation (from the Judsons) isn't there or they're incapable of providing it."

The chief said police are primarily concerned with the safety of the child and the animals at the home. The state Department of Children and Family Services was called and visited the home, a police report states.

The Judsons were released on personal recognizance and will be back in court on April 12 for a pretrial hearing.

References

« MA State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Worcester County, MA

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