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Sunday, Apr 30, 2000County: Lincoln
Defendant/Suspect: Kenneth Ripley
Kenneth Ripley, 54, of Whitefield who was charged with abusing a cow was sentenced to 21 days in jail (with none suspended), fined $250 and ordered never to own an animal again. The sentence was considered a landmark and was handed down by Justice Rae Anne French in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscassett.
Chip Ridky, state veterinarian, said "What impressed me so much is that I've never heard of such a harsh sentence before. It appeared to this state, this agency, and the court that this animal had suffered a whole lot."
Ripley owned a cow that slipped last May and broke both of her hind legs while calving.
The state had received many calls regarding the condition of the cow. Chip Ridky said, "We had lots of phone calls about this cow, lots of tips but no witnesses. Without a witness, we can't get a search warrant."
When people say why aren't you doing something?" The state agents would say, "Why don't you give us your name?"
"No one wants to be the reason someone goes to jail - we understand that. But, we can't act with our hands tied."
It took a while, but Ridky was able to get inside Ripley's barn with the help of a local veterinarian. The cow was dead. "She had been down for three to five weeks after her legs had been broken. She died of starvation or dehydration or both."
Ripley said in his defense, he had no job and not a lot of money. Ridky said, "But there are many ways he could have put that cow out of her misery."
Many local animal control officers have voiced their support of the division since the August and September public hearings.
On Nov 20, another legislative hearing is scheduled on the issue.
- Bangor ME Daily News - Oct 17, 2000
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