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Wednesday, Oct 31, 2001County: Cumberland
Defendant/Suspect: Rebecca Bryd
Rebecca Byrd, 29, a US Navy petty officer stationed in Brunswick will serve ten days in jail for leaving her dog outside in severe weather last fall despite repeated complaints from her neighbors. Byrd has been charged with neglecting to feed the dog leaving it to starve to death even though she had dog food in her home.
Byrd is also facing serious charges of aggravated assault and assault on a minor for abuse of her own children during the same period. Her 8-month old son suffered a fractured arm and ribs and she struck her 4 year old daughter with her hand and a belt. She will appear in court next week to formally face those charges.
Byrd's attorney, David Paris of Bath, said she's a single mother suffering from depression. "The tragedy of this case is, Mrs Byrd couldn't help the dog ... She has psychological problems that are continuing."
The two children are now in state custody.
Assistant District Attorney Bud Ellis requested a 30-day jail term for the animal abuse charge. "If you have the wherewithal to take care of an animal and you allow it to starve to death, you deserve 30 days in jail. The dog was terribly neglected."
A member of Maine Friends of Animals criticized the sentence of ten days in jail for starving a dog to death as too lenient. "It is absolutely out of line. It doesn't send a signal that this kind of conduct is unacceptable."
After Byrd's release from prison she will spend a year on probation. During that time she will have to continue to receive mental-health services and she is barred from owing any pets.
- Portland ME Press Herald - Aug 30, 2001
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